More healthy benefits linked to Niacin – available at ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare

Since I posted last weeks article on Niacin-based skincare products, I have been doing some more research on the benefits of this somewhat lesser-known B Vitamin and just today my husband, Scott was talking with some of his contemporaries (they are early 40s) about stress-tests, blood-pressure and cholesterol – and how niacin effects them all which shed even more light on this important subject. Knowing more about this Vitamin (B3) and how it might have a postive effect and contribute to healthier skin is allowing me to create spa treatments that are more effective in restoring skin to proper health and balance. It also provides me with another “tool” to customize my facial and body treatments even more to treat very specific conditions that might otherwise not respond to more mass-marketed, “Department Store” cosmetic products. Just a note about “Department Store” skincare – when you find yourself overwhelmed by pretty packages and pretty sales-people, make sure to ask them what percentages of the “important ingredient” are used in their product(s). While they probably won’t have an answer, a quick look at the label will provide a hint – the further towards the end of the ingredient deck (list) the lower the percentage of that ingredient in the jar (or tube, or bottle). It is not uncommon to find less than 1/10 of 1% of a particular ingredient in a high-priced, OTC cosmetic product that has that touts that same (low-percentage) ingredient in big, bold letters on the front of the package. With that said, our Nia24 products contain upto 5% of active “Pro-Niacin” in addition to much higher than normal percentages of Sodium Hyaluronate and other concentrated extracts. Click Here to view last week’s post of Dr. Oz and Oprah discussing these great products that we use in our facial treatments at ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare on a daily basis.

There is a wonderful article on the potential benefits of Niacin from the University of Maryland Medical Center where family friend and former neighbor (and Pittsburgh native) Dr. Bartley Griffith holds the post of Professor of Surgery and Director of Cardiac Surgery and Cardiothoracic Transplantation. Below are some of the more relevant excerpts. Read the complete article here.

Niacin, like all B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is “burned” to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein. B complex vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly.

Niacin also helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body. Niacin is effective in improving circulation and reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

All the B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them.

The body’s needs for B3 can usually be met through diet; it is rare for anyone in the developed world to have a B3 deficiency. In the United States alcoholism is the prime cause of vitamin B3 deficiency.

Symptoms of mild deficiency include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, and depression. Severe deficiency can cause a condition known as pellagra. Pellagra is characterized by cracked, scaly skin, dementia, and diarrhea. It is generally treated with a nutritionally balanced diet and niacin supplements. Niacin deficiency also results in burning in the mouth and a swollen, bright red tongue.

High Cholesterol
Niacin (but not niacinamide) has been used since the 1950s to lower elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood and is more effective in increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels than other cholesterol-lowering medications. However, side effects can be unpleasant and even dangerous. High doses of niacin cause flushing of the skin (which can be reduced by taking aspirin 30 minutes before the niacin), stomach upset (which usually subsides in a few weeks), headache, dizziness, and blurred vision. There is an increased risk of liver damage. A time-release form of niacin reduces flushing, but its long-term use is associated with liver damage. In addition, niacin can interact with other cholesterol-lowering drugs (see “Possible Interactions”). You should not take niacin at high doses without your doctor’s supervision.


Because niacin lowers LDL and triglycerides in the blood, it may help prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and is sometimes prescribed along with other medications. However, niacin also increases levels of homocysteine levels in the blood, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. This is another reason you should not take high doses of niacin without your doctor’s supervision.


Some evidence suggests that niacinamide (but not niacin) might help delay the onset of insulin dependence (in other words, delay the time that you would need to take insulin) in type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, eventually destroying them. Niacinamide may help protect those cells for a time, but more research is needed to tell for sure.

The effect of niacin on type 2 diabetes is more complicated. People with type 2 diabetes often have high levels of fats and cholesterol in the blood, and niacin, often in conjunction with other drugs, can lower those levels. However, niacin can also raise blood sugar levels, resulting in hyperglycemia — particularly dangerous for someone with diabetes. For that reason, anyone with diabetes should take niacin only when directed to do so by their doctor, and should be carefully monitored for hyperglycemia.


One preliminary study suggested that niacinamide may improve arthritis symptoms, including increasing joint mobility and reducing the amount of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) needed. But more research is needed to determine whether there is any real benefit.


Alzheimer’s disease — Population studies show that people who get higher levels of niacin in their diet have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. No studies have evaluated niacin supplements, however.

Skin conditions — Topical forms of niacin are being studied as treatments for acne, aging, and prevention of skin cancer, although results are too early to know whether it is effective.

Dietary Sources:
The best dietary sources of vitamin B3 are found in beets, brewer’s yeast, beef liver, beef kidney, fish, salmon, swordfish, tuna, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Bread and cereals are usually fortified with niacin. In addition, foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid the body coverts into niacin, include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Available Forms:
Vitamin B3 is available in several different supplement forms: niacinamide, niacin, and inositol hexaniacinate. Niacin is available as a tablet or capsule in both regular and timed-release forms. The timed-release tablets and capsules may have fewer side effects than the regular niacin; however, the timed-release versions are more likely to cause liver damage. Regardless of the form of niacin being used, periodic checking of liver function tests is recommended when high doses (above 100 mg per day) of niacin are used.

How to Take It:
Daily recommendations for niacin in the diet of healthy individuals are listed below.

Generally, high doses of niacin are used to control specific diseases, such as high cholesterol. Such high doses are considered “pharmacologic” and must be prescribed by a doctor, who will have you increase the amount of niacin slowly, over the course of 4 – 6 weeks, and take the medicine with meals to avoid stomach irritation.


Infants birth to 6 months: 2 mg (adequate intake)
Infants 7 months to 1 year: 4 mg (adequate intake)
Children 1- 3 years: 6 mg (RDA)
Children 4 – 8 years: 8 mg (RDA)
Children 9 – 13 years: 12 mg (RDA)
Males 14 – 18 years: 16 mg (RDA)
Females 14 – 18 years: 14 mg (RDA)

Males 19 years and older: 16 mg (RDA)
Females 19 years and older: 14 mg (RDA)
Pregnant females: 18 mg (RDA)
Breastfeeding females: 17 mg (RDA)

I hope you find the above information worthwhile and please remember – Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider. And if you have any immediate or chronic pain or other issues, please seek the medical care of a physician as soon as possible. The above is intended for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as any type of medical diagnosis or otherwise.

Spa you Soon,
Eva Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888


Summer Spa Party @ ESSpa Kozmetika – Friday, July 31 from 7 til ??

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare & Spa is having a Customer Appreciation Complimentary Summer Spa Party

The dog days of summer are almost upon us and soon the kids will be going back to school, the days will get shorter and vacations will end. Don’t let it end without a proper celebration. Come join me, Scott and my staff for a wonderful evening of fun, music and food and friends on Friday, July 31st from 7pm until ???. Come early or come later but I hope you will find time to at least drop by and say hello. After 8, we will be turning the music up and Scott will relive his days as a Nightclub Owner as we turn ESSpa Kozmetika into Spa 54 (that should be most interesting). You are welcome to bring a guest(s).

And if you would like to enjoy a specially-priced spa service to start the evening out, then I invite you to Join the Pittsburgh Spa Lovers Group and make your plans to relax before you Party.


Summer is the season to show it off. Simply email me at to RSVP for next Friday’s Spa Shindig.

There is no trick or catch or obligation to buy anything, I simply want you to come celebrate with me. ESSpa Kozmetika is for EVERYONE who wants to look good and feel better. And in these stressful times, that might be something money can’t buy.

Spa You Soon,
Eva Sztupka-Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

As Seen on Oprah, ESSpa Kozmetika has Nia24 Niacin Skincare

Wow, what a week. Monday was a pretty good day as the US owner of German Footcare powerhouse Gehwol, Johnny Jarufe, came to Pittsburgh to conduct a fantastic training seminar for my staff. Tuesday brought Shanon Hoffman, the publisher of Healing Lifestyles & Spa Magazine into my life in a whirlwind of positive collaboration. And today, I found out that Dr. Oz was on Oprah yesterday explaining the benefits of using sunscreen and skincare products that contain Niacin to combat and prevent sun damage.

Whoopee! Why am I so happy, because about 6 months ago, while I was researching new skincare breakthroughs, I came across a company called Niadyne that makes Nia24 skincare products and after some rigorous testing, made an exclusive deal to use them at ESSpa Kozmetika. These amazingly effective products provide just what the doctor ordered, literally. Here is what Dr. Oz (and Dr. Evans) told Oprah (and the millions watching on TV) about the importance of Niacin for restoring and maintaining beautiful skin.

Dr. Oz says there are three other things you need to do to make sure your skin is beautiful. The first key is making sure you get plenty of vitamins A, C and E—through diet and nutrient-rich creams. “Those are the key antioxidant vitamins. But they’re also important, especially vitamin A, because they block some of the bad things happening underneath,” he says. “And they help rejuvenate—turn on cells that make more collagen, make more elastin—to give you that bounciness that you want.”

Dr. Evans says vitamin A is especially important for healthy skin. “It can make real transitions in the beginning. In fact, some of the damage you’ve already done—it can turn back the clock,” she says. “You see it in retinol forms. Pretty much anything like a retinyl or retinoic acid or retin is a form of vitamin A.”

Another nutrient you need is niacin, which prevents melanin from reaching the skin and reduces the production of the staining compound. Dr. Oz says you can also use natural licorice extract to slow the creation of melanin.

The third key part of a healthy skin routine is exfoliation. “Sun spots are stuck in the skin, so if you stop making new ones, your body rubs off the old levels,” Dr. Oz says. “That’s basically what exfoliation is, but you do it naturally. We shed dozens of pounds of skin a year. … And your body will shed those sun-damaged areas.”

Among the hundreds of ingredients in skincare products, only a few make a real difference. These three have the best scientific backing:

Vitamin A (retinol, retinoic acid or Retin-A, retinyl propionate, and retinaldehyde): In its various forms, vitamin A increases elastin, collagen, and the natural moisturizer hyaluronic acid in the skin. It’s the only thing you can apply to repair sun damage, giving you a smoother, less wrinkled complexion.

Vitamin C: Also stimulates collagen and elastin growth and helps thwart free radicals. (Vitamin C rapidly breaks down when exposed to light and oxygen, so the jar should be opaque and kept sealed.)

Vitamin E: An antioxidant, vitamin E acts to slow wrinkle production. Some research suggests it may also help protect against skin cancer. (Must be in the form of DL-alpha-tocopherol to make a difference, so read the ingredients on the label.)

I know, what about the other ingredients that were mentioned – Dr. Oz said you need more than just Niacin in order to get the best results right? Well, I am happy to say that our Nia24 Products not only contain Niacin (in a concentration that will actually have an effect – this is important because most “drug-store” cosmetics contain so little active ingredients that even the most expensive have no more effect than if you put the cheapest cream on your face”) but they also contain Licorice Root, Sodium Hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid, necessary for hydrated skin); Barley and Tomato (gotta love Lycopene); and an easily absorbed, liposome form of Vitamins A, C and E.

In addition to all of the other wonderful organic cosmetic products we offer, ESSpa Kozmetika uses the following niacin-based Nia24 products in our special sun-damaged skin treatments (and they are also available for home-use):

    100% Mineral Sunscreen – An effective sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and NOT a stew of chemical compounds that might have a long-term negative impact on your skin’s health.
    Gentle Cleansing Cream – The perfect way to clean even the most sensitive or sun-damaged skin.
    Physical Cleansing Scrub – A very effective and safe way to thoroughly clean your skin.
    Skin Strengthening Complex – A powerful treatment to bring tired, dry, dull skin back to life.
    Intensive Recovery Complex – Contains the highest percentages of all the key nutrients for incredible results.
    Eye Repair Complex – A cream with the proper amounts of ingredients that produce results without irritating the sensitive orbital area.

With the summer in full-swing, I encourage you to call (412) 782-3888 or send an email to and make an appointment for a complimentary consultation so that I can examine your skin and determine what (if any) sun damage your skin has been subjected to and come up with a plan to turn back the hands of time and help you look younger and healthier.

Spa You Soon,
Eva Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
Named “The 3rd Best Spa in America” (2008)
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

ESSpa Kozmetika Skincare’s 1st mention in a National Magazine.

You never forget your first love, your first big game, your first (fill in your first favorite thing here). And when you build your own business, you never forget the first time the national media mentions you (and/or your business) in an article.

Well, today I received an email from Shanon Hoffman who found me through my profile. For those of you who don’t know, Shanon is the Publisher of Healing Lifestyles & Spa Magazine – one of the premier media publications targeting the Health and Wellness reader and LOHAS advocates. The funny thing is, way back at the beginning of 2004, when ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare & Spa was still located in our original 800 square foot shop with only 5 employees, I was contacted by a writer who was writing an article on healthy spa treatments that utilized fresh, natural ingredients that wanted to include what I was doing at ESSpa Kozmetika. So the writer and I chatted for a while and in my incredibly thick, Hungarian accent I explained that I was trying to bring a little bit of the Hungarian countryside and my traditional skincare techniques to the USA. And then I forgot about it – only to be remembered about 6 months later when my husband came running into the spa with a magazine that I had never seen happily yapping that my little spa was featured in an article in a national magazine that was on sale at Whole Foods (which had just opened in Pittsburgh to much fanfare). I invite you to Click Here and Read the Original Article. If you don’t like to click on links – here is the “meat of the article”

Whether you prefer spinach, kale, chard, or seaweed, dark leafy greens are a powerful source of vitamins and essential nutrients. Rich in phytoestrogens, minerals, and antioxidants, greens are showing up in facials and body treatments. Pittsburgh’s ESSpa Kozmetika SkinCare offers two veggie-based treatments, the 8 Greens Facial and Citrus Greens Back Treatment, both of which promise to exfoliate skin and combat breakouts.

So imagine my surprise when the Publisher of this national magazine sends me and email asking me to connect and join her Healing Lifestyles & Spas LinkedIn group? Of course I accepted her invitation and sent her an email back to say hello and share with her what I and ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare have been up to for the past 5 years – growing, expanding, garnering more national attention, and otherwise just living a Healing Lifestyle.

Altogether, today’s events made me acutely aware of how small our world has become, how interconnected we all have become and how important it is that we all try to work together towards a common goal of Healing and Health and Wellness.

In closing let me say that if you own a business that has anything to do with the LOHAS, health, wellness, spa and/or green communities, I urge you to visit Healing Lifestyles & Spa Magazine, read the articles, learn more about what our community is doing today and then contact Shanon to see if she can help your business thrive and be recognized for your achievements.

Spa You Soon,
Eva Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
Named “The 3rd Best Spa in America” in 2008
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

Drink Up, Jump In and Cool Down

Scott, Kristian and I just got back from Florida and holy cow was it hot – like surface of the sun hot. And it is not much cooler back here in Pittsburgh. And Scott’s relatives from Texas told us that their backyard has turned to dirt and is beginning to crack from the extreme heat and lack of water.

That last comment is what made me think about how our skin reacts to long periods of high, sustained heat. Think of your skin as a beautiful yard. When you take care of your yard properly – water it regularly, feed it nutrients, remove weeds and grubs, trim and cut it appropriately – then it looks good and healthy and everyone tells you what a great looking home you have. When you don’t pay attention to it things either get overgrown, your grass starts to die and you get brown spots, weeds, or worse the aforementioned dead, cracking dirt wasteland look.

I am here to tell you that your skin is no different. If you DO NOT water it regularly, feed it the proper nutrients and vitamins, attend to the little details like trimming and removing the grubs and weeds (acne and/or clogged pores anyone?) then your face and body will turn on you and begin to lose its vitality and eventually crack (here come premature wrinkles).

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare exists to help teach you how to properly take care of your face and body in order to keep your “front yard” looking healthy and great. And with all of the sweating, processed foods, sun, stress and other skin-killing factors that bombard us everyday – I urge you to come see me (or one of my incredible therapists) so that I can show you EXACTLY how to stop the damage and keep you looking young and healthy. And if you cannot come and see me, I urge you to go seek out someone you trust and listen and let them help you. If you absolutely cannot go to a spa or other practitioner then here are some basic tips that can alleviate some of the most skin-destroying factors.

It’s easy to get dehydrated during these heat waves. And another known fact is people get cranky and lethargic. Is this happening to any of you? If so, drink more COLD water and drink electrolytes. There are so many ways to increase electrolytes:

1. Drink lemonade with a pinch of salt;
2. Eating watermelon with salt can raise electrolytes;
3. Add an Emergen-C packet to a glass of water;
4. Make apple, celery and cucumber juice or any other celery/cucumber combination;
5. Yes, even Gatorade or Pedialyte are electrolyte drinks, but I don’t suggest it at all (too much high-fructose corn syrup, etc.). Go get a blender (they are $30 at Wal-Mart or Target) buy some fruit and go natural!
6. A great idea would be to make a cucumber / celery water tonic and carry it arond in a spray bottle so you can spritz your face from time to time – A GREAT REFRESHER that will keep your face dewey, young-looking, cool and clean.

I also want to remind you how lucky we are in Pittsburgh to have so much fresh water all around us. If you do not have access to a pool, then why not go down and take a dip in the cool waters of the Allegheny River or nearest lake. The more ways you know how to get electrolytes back into your system and keep from overheating, the less likely you will get dehydrated. This is the most important part of caring and protecting good, healthy skin because it allows your cells to flush out toxins and other pollutants. Keeping your inner core balanced, cool and properly hydrated will build a solid foundation upon which you outer layers of skin can be cleaned and better maintained. BTW – part of this healing maintanence process requires that you absolutely MUST watch what you eat and you MUST always wear a good sunscreen (that contains a natural screen like zinc or titanium dioxide instead of Oxycrylene or other chemicals).

I hope that these tips help and again, I encourage you to come visit me at ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare to learn more about how to stay healthy, young and beautiful.

Spa You Soon,
Eva Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
Named the “3rd Best Spa in America” by The Industry Source Magazine (12/2008)
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

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