Skin SOS: Hyperpigmentation? Freckles? Dark Spots? We Can Help!

As a young girl, I admittedly envied the dusting of freckles across my friends’ noses and cheeks. I remember how cute their freckles were and to me (whose skin is olive-based and plain in comparison), I often wished I had freckles like “Little Orphan Annie.” Today I know better.

Fast-forward 30 years and as an esthetician, I still find myself looking at people’s skin while I’m commuting on the train or walking around the city. However, I now understand that freckles are a form of hyperpigmentation. Let’s take a moment to talk about hyperpigmentation.


Hyperpigmentation is a form of sun damage. When our skin is exposed to the sun, the body produces an excess amount of “melanocytes” – better known as melanin. Melanin is what gives our skin its color.

However, when the skin is left unprotected— no sunscreen to block the UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays— the body produces more melanin to try and protect the skin. Regardless of your skin tone, these dark spots can range in color from light beige to black and often appear on areas exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, chest, arms, and hands.

Since I commute every day, I decided to study the people I saw on the train and conduct a very basic study of anyone with hyperpigmentation. Things I observed and took note of included how old I thought they were, skin tone, hair coloring, and so on. What I discovered was very concerning – I was surprised to see so many hyperpigmented people in their 20s and 30s!

Most people think of hyperpigmentation as dark spots or age spots affecting people in their 50s and older. The fact is that the majority of people I see in the esthetician’s room and on the streets of Chicago with hyperpigmented skin are getting younger and younger. This is concerning because by the time they do reach their later years, the spots will get larger and darker!

Take a look at your face, neck and chest. Do you have a tan but also spots on the tan? Or, do see dark spots ranging in different shades of brown to black? Those spots are sun damage. Without treatment and proper protection from the sun, the hyperpigmentation will worsen over time. Thankfully, there are treatment options for hyperpigmentation that range from ultrasonic peels to LED therapy, which require little to no down time or peeling.

Hyperpigmentation Treatment Option Breakdown

LED Therapy:

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) has proven results lightening hyperpigmentation. A series of Green LED therapy can noticeably lighten dark spots, while Red LED therapy can reach the deeper layers of the skin to promote skin rejuvenation. This results in younger, tighter and more youthful looking skin.

Ultrasonic Peels

ELEMIS is known for its breakthrough advances in skincare, including the use of ultrasonic therapy to target dark spots and LED combination therapies to peel away the hyperpigmentation, rejuvenate the skin, and even out skin tone.

After you’ve chosen one of the therapies above to treat your hyperpigmentation, the best way to protect the skin is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen and book an appointment for a healthy Ortanic tan that will provide the skin with a beautiful customized glow and protection from the sun. In the long run, your skin will thank you as it ages gracefully without dark spots!

Questions? Comments? Email me at any time:

Healthy Tanning!

How to Heal and Camouflage a Sunburn

FFC Gold Coast Esthetician Shawn Flemming shares a few tips on how to properly (and quickly!) heal and camouflage a sunburn, just in time for beach season!

At one time or another, we’ve all experienced a sunburn- whether it’s because we stayed out too long in the sun, forgot to wear sunblock or thought that we could go without sunscreen on cloudy/overcast days.

Firstly, clouds do not prevent or filter UV rays! The sun’s rays are strong and long enough to reach you at ground level – they actually get reflected more intensely because of the cloud cover. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re safe from the sun’s skin-damaging rays because it’s cooler outside or it’s a cloudy day!

Recently I’ve also had several clients call and ask if they can cover their “farmer’s tan” or sports bra sunburn with a spray tan. While I would love to be able to help them conceal their tan with a gorgeous, organic, and safe spray tan, it depends on a few factors (like how severe the burn is and when it occurred.)

I’ve put together a “Quick Response Guide” to treating a severe sunburn. The sooner you treat the burn, the more likely that it will heal faster and the discomfort will not last as long. For more tips on protecting skin from burning in the first place, check out my recent post!

Step 1: Cool the burn.

The sunburn has heat trapped in it, so it will feel warm to the touch. You want to cool the burn, but you also don’t want to overexpose the skin to too much water because it will irritate the sensitive skin and cause excessive drying.

If you are near a pool, take a quick dip for a few seconds. Or, if at home, jump in the shower and stand under cool water for a few moments. Do not apply soap!

Step 2: Apply an anti-inflammatory medicine.

To reduce swelling and inflammation take a NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine) like aspirin or ibuprofen. Continue taking the medicine as directed on the bottle until your sunburn is no longer painful to the touch.

Step 3. Use cold compresses.

The purpose of compresses is to help reduce the heat and inflammation. Here are several recipes that take advantage of the healing properties of household items:

  • Oatmeal: Pour a scoop of plain oatmeal onto a gauze, cotton, or cheesecloth and wrap the cloth to keep the oatmeal inside. Then run the compress under cool water letting the water soak through it. Open the compress, remove the wet oatmeal and wring out excess water. Apply compress across the sunburn until it no longer feels warm. Repeat every few hours.
  • Milk: Using fat-free milk and 4 cups of cool water. Soak oatmeal compresses in the cooled milk, wring out excess milk/water from the compress and apply the compress to the sunburn for 15-20 minutes. Repeat every few hours.
  • Yogurt: Using plain yogurt, gently apply a thin layer across the sunburn. Leave on for several minutes and rinse off, patting the skin dry.
  • Frozen Peas/Ice Pack: Apply to swollen sunburns after wrapping the frozen item in a damp towel. Never apply ice or cooling packs directly to the skin!
  • Witch Hazel: Apply Witch Hazel to a soft cloth and apply the compress directly to the skin. Witch Hazel has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce swelling and redness.

Always apply a moisturizer after compress therapy (see step 5.)

Step 4: Cool the burn again.

The first 48 hours of a sunburn can be very painful as will still be heated trapped under the skin. Continue to use compresses and sit in front of a fan or near an air conditioner for short periods to help cool the skin. Follow with a gentle moisturizer.

Step 5: Moisturize.

Using the right moisturizer can make a huge difference in how quickly the burn heals as well as how much or little you will peel.  Here are some common don’t ingredients, followed by a list of dos.

Don’t use: petroleum jelly (Vaseline), oils, or thick creams because they trap the heat in the skin. Also do not use any products with parabens, alcohol, formaldehyde, menthol, coloring agents, or fragrance because they can irritate the skin causing further dryness and itching.

DO use: light and water-based moisturizers, which make them easy for the skin to absorb. Since there are thousands of moisturizers to choose from ask the pharmacist for recommendations. Another option is aloe vera from the source. Break open an aloe vera leaf and apply the juice directly to the sunburn. If buying over-the-counter aloe vera, check the ingredients for any that are on the don’t list.

Step 6: Treat flaking skin.

Since skin, on average, takes about 28 days to renew itself, you will probably have several days to weeks of slight – heavy peeling, depending on how severe the burn is and how you care for it.

If you experience severe itching, apply products with 1% hydrocortisone. Once you’re in the peeling stage, you can use oil moisturizers like coconut oil to help keep the skin soft and the itch factor low.

Do not pick at flaking skin as you can tear healthy skin off, which will leave a scar! Let the skin flake off naturally, using lotions and oil to minimize flaking and provide a barrier between the skin and clothing that can rub against the peeling skin causing itching and irritation.

Step 6: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Stay hydrated! From the moment you notice the sunburn, drink plenty of water or liquids with electrolytes as your skin needs the extra hydration and to help prevent hyperpigmentation and even scarring.

Step 7: Hide the burn.

The truth is that until you reach the flaking stage, makeup and even spray tans are a don’t. The skin needs to breathe and release heat, which is what causes the redness, swelling, and inflammation.

Remember sunburn is actually very similar to a burn you get touching a hot flame or heated pan! Until the burn is cooled, medicated, moisturized, and healed, the best camouflage is clothing to keep the sun from the injured skin.

Question? Suggestion? Comments? Email Shawn at or tweet to use using #FFCChicago!

The Best Summer Makeup Tips for Tanned Skin

Licensed Esthetician and Ortanic Specialist Shawn Flemming knows a thing or two about gorgeous makeup. Read on for her tips on rocking summer makeup this season!

Now that you’ve got a beautiful and healthy Ortanic tan, you may be wondering if you need to tweak your makeup a bit. The answer is YES. Colors will look a lot different on tanned skin, so it’s the perfect time to have some fun with colors you might not normally wear. Below are a few easy ideas to try.

Bold Blushes and Bronzers

Stay away from blush with brown or peach undertones since they can give you a “muddy” look. Instead, try a dab of coral, orange or rose on the apples of your cheeks. Apply lightly by sweeping gently across your cheeks. You can also use a creamy lip color in coral or rosy red on your lips and then dab and blend on your cheeks for a natural look.

If you love bronzers, choose coppery and gold shades and apply lightly, skipping the blush. Add a touch of neutral color to lips and lots of dark mascara to lengthen lashes and draw attention to the eyes for an all over natural, flawless look.

Bright Eyes

Seek out metallic eye shadows in gold, bronze and silver. Blending is key, along with long dark lashes and a thin line of eyeliner. Remember to play up your eyes OR lips – not both! Sweeping and blending the metallic color across the entire lid with a pop of brightness in the inner corner of each eye will brighten your eyes.

Earthy Lip Colors

The best way to draw attention to your pucker is with natural lip shades in warm tones like peachy-pink and coral-pink. For the red-lipped lovers, try reds in a strawberry or deep wine color. A truly natural neutral lip with a hint of gloss works best with highlighted cheekbones and warm, earthy eye shadows in gold tones.


Keep it light. You may also find that you can go without a foundation or use a lightweight BB or CC cream now that you have your tan. When choosing a foundation, look for one that has a more yellow or golden undertone. Or, ask your local beauty expert to help you choose a foundation you can use with your Ortanic tan if you’re unsure about color choice.


Whatever palette you choose, be sure to remember sunscreen! Protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen all day to ensure that you’ll have beautiful skin for years.

Have other makeup ideas that you’d love to share? Post a photo on our Facebook page or tag it using #Ortanic! Have questions about Ortanic? Feel free to email me at or call your local FFC Spa Desk – we’d love to hear from you!

Top 8 Ways to Keep Your Skin Safe from The Sun This Season

The summer days are upon us, and so are the warm and wonderful (yet damaging) rays of the sun. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with more than 1 million cases each year. With over 90% of melanomas being caused by the sun’s rays, there are a few very important steps that we should all take in order to protect ourselves. Here are some guidelines to help you stay safe in and out of the sun this season!

Seek the shade!

Staying in the shade between the hours for 10 AM and 4 PM is one of the most important things you can do to protect your skin. This is when the sun rays are usually the strongest. If you are outside, head for the shady side of the street or use a sun umbrella. Try your favorite outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon. The beach at sunset perhaps?

Do not burn.

Even one sunburn increases your risk of melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers. Five or more sunburns doubles your lifetime risk.

Avoid UV tanning in tanning booths.

Whether your tan comes from the beach or from the salon, it all has the same amount of skin cancer risk. Tanning bed users are at higher risk for skin cancer since the sunlamps in tanning beds produce UVR doses 12 times higher than the actual sun.

Cover up!

Clothing is a very effective form of sun protection. Wrap-around UV- blocking sunglasses help prevent conditions including cataracts and melanomas of the eye and eyelid, and wide brimmed hats protect the face as well as the back of the neck.

Use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher every single day.

The SPF in sunscreen measures how long your skin can be protected from the sun’s UVB rays before burning. SPF 15 is a good place to start, but you should check labels and with your doctor to determine what is best.

Be alert!

  • Look for these changes in your skin. Cancer warning signs include:
  • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust or scab
  • An open sore that does not heal within two weeks
  • A skin growth, mole, beauty mark or brown spot that does one of the following:
    • changes color
    • changes texture
    • increases in size or thickness
    • is asymmetrical
    • has an irregular border
    • is bigger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser
    • appears after the age of 21

See your physician once a year for a skin exam.

Be sure to consult your doctor with any questions, and aim for a thorough examination once a year.

Come get an Ortanic tan and stay safe this summer!

We have some awesome packages and a great membership that won’t break the bank but will ensure you with a great tan the whole summer without any damage to your skin! Come see us!

The Insanely Simple Guide to Finding Your Perfect Wedding Dress Style

It’s that time of year again – wedding season is right upon us! Weddings are exciting, and whether you are the bride, a bridesmaid, or just a guest, each experience is something to look forward to celebrating.

If you are the bride, as I’m sure you know, wedding planning starts months in advance. One of the most important things topping our to do list is finding the perfect wedding dress!

Will it fit? Long or short? Sleeveless? There are so many options! But how do you chose? Well, lucky for you, I did some research on all types of bridal gowns and dresses for each body type. (Looks like I have been wearing the wrong type of dress this whole time!) This guide will help you choose the perfect dress for your style and body type.




During my research, I found there are eight different dress styles to chose from: Ball Gown, A-line, Modified A-line, Trumpet, Mermaid, Sheath, Tea-Length and the Minidress wedding dress style.

The Ball Gown

The Ball Gown is also known as the “ fairytale dress” with a fitted bodice that flares at the waist with a full skirt. Although this dress is great on all body types, it especially compliments pear body shapes since it hides the lower body. On the other hand, the Ball Gown style is not a good pick for petites, since the skirt can be overwhelming on a small frame.

The A-Line

The A-Line has a fitted bodice through the waist and flows out gradually toward the ground. This dress is ideal for all body types.

The Modified A-Line is also fitted on the bodice and hips and gradually flares down to the hem forming an A shape.The skirt of a modified A-Line fits closer to the body than a traditional A-line. This dress is also ideal for all body types.

The Trumpet

The Trumpet is fitted through the body and flares mid thigh. The cut is between a modified A-Line and Mermaid cut. This dress style is ideal for frames with small waists, such as an hourglass, banana and petite. The Trumpet is not good for pear and apple body shapes as it accentuates the stomach and hips.

The Mermaid

The Mermaid style is fitted on the body from the chest to the knee, then flares out close to the knee area. This is the perfect dress style for slender frames and hourglass body types who are willing to show off their curves.Not a good pick for apples or more curvy body types.

The Sheath

Sheath is a narrow shaped dress that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem. This is perfect for lean frames such as petites and bananas. This dress will also work well on hourglasses. This is not a good fit for pears, as the Sheath will accentuate extra inches and can be unflattering.

The Tea-Length

A Tea- Length dress fall between the ankle and the knee. This dress is a style that is perfect for all body types.

The Minidress

Last but not least A mini skirt falls above the knee. This is ideal for bananas . Not good for plus sizes.

I hope this helped you decide what to look for when you finally decide to go shopping for that wedding dress! Don’t forget to come get an Airbrush tan at Ortanic! Nothing looks better with a nice dress than a tan 🙂

Happy Spring!


Best Spring Fashion in Chicago

It’s almost that time of year again! We know we are not the only ones super excited about spring being right around the corner. One of our favorite things about spring is the fashion that comes with it. The question is, where can you go to get the hottest, most stylish spring clothes in Chicago? Look no further! We’ve compiled a a few of Chicago’s best boutiques for spring finds.

Into stylish vintage? You HAVE to stop in at Ikram. This upscale store knows all about who’s who in the fashion industry and it shows. Not just by the clothes but also by the decor of the store. It is FILLED with impossible to find vintage clothing and high end accessories. Give them a call for more details on their pieces!

Escada is one of the city’s hottest shopping spots for all the best styles; offering high fashion clothing for all times of day as well as all occasions. The women who shop there enjoy great quality and appreciate a sleek look. They also carry accessories, bags, shoes and even diamonds! Truly a one-stop-shop for your next special occasion outfit.

A classic, sophisticated boutique, Nau is worth taking a look at. The Lincoln Park location recently closed, but you can shop their looks online. The retailer has two goals in mind: to make you look good and to make your clothes last at least 10 years! (Yep, you read that right.) These are all timeless basic and neutral-toned pieces that never go out of style. Can’t go wrong with that, right!? Not only that, but 5% of their sales benefit groups working for positive environmental, social and humanitarian change.

Happy shopping and happy spring! Don’t forget to pay us a visit – all those amazing clothes with look ten times better with a tan. See you soon!

Things to Do In Chicago: Spend A Day in Pilsen

A vibrant neighborhood in Chicago full of history and culture, Pilsen is a great area to explore – whether you have the weekend, or just one day!

One of the first stops you should make is to the National Museum of Mexican Art. Here, you can see the beauty of Mexican culture unfold in rich stories told through art.

In addition to the awe-inspiring exhibits, the museum occasionally has guest appearances and short theatrical productions for children and adults alike. The museum is also great for a first date! Be sure to call ahead to find out about special events and the daily program schedule.

After you work up an appetite, head right around the corner to Diez y Ocho. The staff are on my list of places with good customer service and an excellent menu selection. There is a beautiful upstairs loft available for throwing private events. Nice owners, great food, good service keeps me going back for more!

Have another favorite spot in Pilsen? Let us know in the comments or share with us on Facebook & Twitter!

How to Eat Chicago Deep Dish & Still Stay on Track

Licensed Esthetician and Ortanic specialist Stacy Nawrocki recently went to the West Loop Lou Malnati’s with her fiancé and his family for a late lunch and some Chicago deep dish. She shares some tips for indulging in the Chicago staple the smart way!

The restaurant itself was great – we had a big party of people with us, and the waitress handled us like a pro. From having past restaurant experience, I can tell you that waiting on a big table can be a little intimidating – but she took our orders right away and was very friendly.

A short while later our party was finally ready to order – and yes, it did include deep dish. If you’re anything like me, you can’t say no to Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track AND enjoy one of Chicago’s finest traditions:

Order salad.

Our party decided on two family-style salads – I chose a garlic style dressing on the side, and it was amazing.

Pick Your Toppings Wisely.

I would suggest ordering a variety of fresh veggies like green peppers and tomatoes (my personal favorites) to help add more greens and give you energy while still tasting delicious.

Eat with a Knife & Fork.

After my salad, I ate one slice of the deep dish cheese pizza with a knife and fork – and let me tell you, one slice completely filled me up! Eating with a knife and fork allows you to slow down a little bit and savor the flavor – eating less in the process.

I love Chicago for these amazing food choices and this was no exception. I can’t wait to go back in the near future and would recommend it to anyone for a family day out in the city!

Stacy Nawrocki is a licensed Esthetician and Ortanic specialist at FFC. Book your next appointment with her by contacting her at or book online by visiting this link!

4 Ways to Actually Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Well, we’ve made it to the New Year – happy 2016! The New Year is prime time for new beginnings – new workout routines, new eating habits, new wardrobes – but it can be hard to stick to a new routine.

According to a 2014 study conducted by the University of Scranton psychology department quoted in Huffington Post, 71% of people hold to their New Year’s resolutions for the first two weeks, but 6 months later, less than 50% of those surveyed actually continue to stick to them!

We’re not going to let you be part of that population. Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help you stick to your 2016 New Year’s resolutions:

1. Sign up for a race or competition in January or February.

You’ll have a reason to keep up with your workout routine if you have a deadline!

2. Get the whole family involved.
Why not plan a family football game or a Zumba class to keep everyone fit during this holiday season? Exercise and create memories!

3. Find a workout buddy!
It’s much easier keeping each other motivated by exercising together. You are more likely to stay committed and stay on track with your workout routine.

4. Gift yourself with some new workout gear.
Who doesn’t love a little retail therapy? Plus, you’ll be more motivated to hit the gym to flaunt it! Neon colors, mesh and cutouts are huge this year – make them pop with a sun-kissed glow from Ortanic! Plus, members get 50% off all month long!!


There you have it. Did we forget a tip? Let us know on our Facebook & Twitter pages!

DIY Treatments For Beautiful Hair

Who would have thought that things like eggs, yogurt and honey can not only be used in the kitchen but also as a part of our beauty routine? There are so many different types of hair serums, masks etc. out on the market – but the downfall to them is that they come packed with unnecessary chemicals and ingredients. These products might fix one problem, but can also start another. We believe the best kinds of skin and hair treatments come from natural ingredients that you can find in your refrigerator. Here are a few great at home hair remedies that will be beneficial for whatever it is your are looking to improve when it comes to your hair.

For dry hair of all hair types: The egg is the best of all worlds. The yolk is rich in fats and proteins and is naturally moisturizing, while the white contains bacteria-eating enzymes which remove unwanted oils. 

To use: for normal hair, use the entire egg to condition hair, use egg whites only to condition oily hair. Use egg yolk only to moisturize dry brittle hair. Use ½ cup of whichever egg mixture is right for you and apply to clean damp hair. Use enough to coat all your hair. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water and shampoo hair. Use once a month.

For dull hair: Styling products as well as air pollution can leave hair looking dull. Dairy products like sour cream and plain yogurt can help reverse this damage. Lactic acid strips away dirt while milk fat moisturizes.

To use: massage ½ cup of sour cream or plain yogurt into damp hair and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water followed by cool water. Then shampoo hair as you normally would. This can be done once every other week.

For itchy scalp: try a lemon juice and olive oil mixture in your hair. The acid from the lemon juice helps rid your skin of any loose, dry flakes from the skin while the olive oil moisturizes the skin on your head.

To use: mix 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp water and massage into damp scalp. Let mixture sit for 20 minutes than rinse and shampoo.You can use this tretment once every other week.

Dry or sun damaged hair: Whatever the cause is for your dry dehydrated hair, nature’s sweetener can help. Honey is a natural humectant which means it attacts and locks in moisture.

To use: massage ½ cup into damp hair and let sit for 20 minutes. You can also add 1 tbsp of olive oil to help loosen the honey for an easier application.This treatment can be used once a month.


Try these remedies for 6 months and see the improvement it has on your hair!