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We all want to fight the signs of aging and so we go to the malls, our Estheticians and Dermatologists, hoping they will have the answer, maybe even the cure for our wrinkles. From fighting free radicals to stimulating skin’s natural collagen production, anti-aging products make enticing promises.
Do they work? That’s what we want to know, right? Below I have listed 4 commonly listed ingredients and some evidence on whether they actually play an effect on your skin.
As we age our skin gets thinner, loses fat and starts to sag and develop fine lines and wrinkles. We produce less collagen and elastin to keep our skin firm and plump.
Peptides are small proteins that help stimulate new cells to grow and to help skin cells to heal.
Scientists are still not sure how beneficial these actually are because of the size of the molecule. They are rather large and that makes it more difficult to deeply penetrate the skin. They can, however, do some good in a moisturizer. This way they can hydrate the skin and make lines less noticeable. Whether they reduce wrinkles, the jury is still out.
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s)
Examples are glycolic, lactic and citric acids which are natural ingredients that come from fruits and milk sugars. They are great for exfoliation because they get rid of dead skin cells, allowing new cells to grow.
Each acid does something different for the skin. Lactic Acid (comes from sour milk) removes the dead skin cells so this will have a brightening effect. Glycolic Acid (comes from sugar cane) helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles which can make skin look smoother and tighter.
A natural form of Vitamin A, this boosts the thickness and elasticity of the skin therefore reducing the signs of wrinkles.
There is an abundant amount of evidence to support that retinol works! Finding it in the right products is the tricky part because you need to have enough to get results. Most over-the-counter products cannot put enough retinol in them to give you the benefits you need. See your Esthetician (me!) or a Dermatologist to get the good stuff! :)
Help fight cell damage from free radicals, which are molecules that could injure cells and increase inflammation.
There are many antioxidants that are effective, however, the formulation is the most critical. Vitamins C and E are the most commonly used and time-tested.
- Wash your face before shaving.
- Remove any coarse hair however you see fit.
- Soap up or use a moisturizing cream as your shaving lubricant.
- Shave with the direction of hair growth, not against it.
- Go over your entire face–yes, even your forehead–using small strokes of the razor.
- Splash cool water on your face.
Always use a razor dedicated to face shaving alone. Hair elsewhere is too coarse, and using the same razor everywhere leads to shaving cuts. Take care around your hairline and eyebrows. You want people to notice your glow, not your half an eyebrow. Skip toner after you shave; you won’t need it, as your skin will feel smooth and taut anyway, and it could sting. As long as you remove coarse hairs first, you can shave as often as you like. It’s one of the kindest and least irritating skin treatments.
I used to recommend the Clarisonic. I still think there are a lot of benefits to using a facial brush but now that I have found Konjac Sponges, I don’t find the facial brush as necessary. Exfoliating your skin is extremely important and I have often written and spoken about it. I have also said that you should not over-exfoliate because that can be damaging to the skin.
I now want to provide you with even more information on exfoliating and the Clarisonic.
1. This brush should definitely not be used every morning and night. That is way too much especially if you are using other exfoliating items in your routine like a scrub or glycolic acid.
2. Too much exfoliation can cause dryness because it allows moisture to leave the cells more easily. Leaving you more dehydrated. This brush (or any brush) should be considered when you think about your exfoliation schedule.
3. When you exfoliate your skin, we call that a form of trauma. That is a good thing…occasionally. Exfoliation causes trauma which then puts your skin in repair mode and stimulates cellular regeneration. If you over-exfoliate, you can trigger premature aging. The opposite of what everyone wants!
4. Aggressive exfoliation can cause inflammation (even if you don’t see it). Chronic and prolonged inflammation is a major cause of aging.
5. The Clarisonic (or any facial brush, harsh wash cloths, facial scrubs) is considered a physical exfoliant and if your skin is extremely reactive to stimulation, it’s important to be more gentle so that you don’t cause post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation. Those who are prone to discoloration and skin of color should be extra cautious!
6. Sometimes the Clarisonic is just too much stimulation for your skin and it will cause breakouts. If this is you, don’t wait for your skin to get used to it. Stop using it! Everyone is different and it may not work for you. I am one of those people.
I will give just a general exfoliation schedule but this could be different for your skin type.
Glycolic Acid is my favorite form of chemical exfoliation to use at home. Skin Scripts Glycolic Cleanser is great. You feel a tingle but it’s effective! Use this about 2-3x a week. Pm only.
The chemical exfoliant (glycolic acid) will dissolve the dead skin and the physical exfoliant (sponge, brush or scrub) will lift off the dead skin. Different but both are necessary!
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The last few months have been rough for our gentle Orange County skin. We aren’t used to winters like this and it has left our skin, dry, parched, irritated, red and chapped. I’ve seen it on a daily basis with my clients. So, what can you do about it?
First, you want to look at what you can do to prevent moisture loss from your skin. Hot showers, harsh cleansers, and products with alcohol and retinoid creams. Of course, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages have a dehydrated effect on the body as well. Medications can be the culprit too but those can’t always be avoided.
Cut back as much as you can on drying ingredients. Switch to cream cleansers, which do not strip the skin of its natural oils. Instead of using your retinoid cream every night, use it every other night or twice a week. You will still get results and you can put a hydrating cream (or Grapeseed Oil!) on top to prevent flaking.
I have been suggesting grapeseed oil to all my clients to use at night as their nightly moisturizer. Cleanse, tone and then apply the oil. It does wonders for the skin and I have already seen a difference in my clients. Not only does it help with dryness but also has antioxidants, helps protect collagen, improves the production of elastin and hyaluronic acid and when used daily and consistently, can help brighten and even skin tone.
Weekly masks are another way to keep your skin hydrated. Honey is a great moisturizer and everyone can use it (unless you’re allergic!). Mix 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil and apply to your face for 10 minutes. For those of you with oily or acneic skin, it can help with unclogging pores, drawing out impurities and killing bacteria, which cause acne. Manuka Honey (from New Zealand) is best for acne. Leave on your skin for about 10 minutes.
I get asked about these all the time and I know these are quite popular especially for those of you that have late nights. They are easier and at least you aren’t going to bed with makeup and your whole day on your face, right? Wrong. Kind of. :)
For the most part, I would prefer you not to use these. There are so many varieties and most are not good for your skin. I simply cannot try every towelette and read all the ingredients to determine which are acceptable and which are not. However, I will give you a couple to use and some to absolutely stay away from completely.
A lot of these contain alcohol so they are super drying to the skin. Then you have the ones that have a lot of fragrance and that can irritate the skin and since you are not washing after, the ones that can be hydrating may leave a film on your skin.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, I would run from these towelettes. I haven’t seen any that are good for your skin types yet. In fact, the only skin type that can really tolerate these, generally speaking, are those with dry skin. As always, there are exceptions to the rules but do you want to find out if you are that exception? You only have 1 face! The more you irritate it, even if you don’t see it now, can cause damage down the road and make you age faster. Now I know you don’t want that!!
That being said, here are my recommendations, as promised, for the good and the bad towelettes…
Good– Neutrogena has 2- Night Calming and Hydrating Towelettes; most brands that are for dry skin will probably be ok because they will have way less alcohol and fragrance in them.
Bad– Olay Facial Cloths for Combination/Oily; as I said above, most brands for oily and acne-prone skin will not be good for the skin. Avoid!
Cleansing your face properly is the best way to keep your skin clean, postpone aging and stay hydrated. If you find yourself using these, try to keep it to “every once in a while, only when you need to” situations. Your skin will thank you! (and you’ll thank me when all you friends are jealous of how great you look! ;) )
Most people will make New Year’s resolutions for their life. What about your skin though? Often forgotten but our face is what people see first. Don’t you want to make a great impression every day?
I’ve made it easy for you this year. Here are some skin resolutions that you can make that will make a difference. Start today!
I don’t always post from other blogs but lately I have been hearing so many people talk about their experiences with a Dermatologist for acne. This post was written so well I didn’t think it was necessary to write my own.
WHY I REGRET GOING TO DERMATOLOGISTS FOR ACNE
It seemed so obvious at the time. My whole family is oily and acne prone. My siblings were both on Accutane. Dermatologists are seen as the first stop for acne problems. It was covered by insurance. After the Proactiv failure, it seemed like the next logical step.
What actually happened was a series of disappointing appointments. In each five to ten minute session, after hours in the waiting room, I was asked what skin care I was using (Blackhead Eliminating Scrub, nothing else), given a few expensive prescriptions, and sent to the pharmacist. When I told them I was getting cystic acne, they didn’t believe me because it was never present at the time of the appointments. I was never asked about my diet. I was never asked about my usual sun exposure, just vaguely told that the medications could make me more sun sensitive. I never had a proper skin analysis. I was never told what my skin type was (combination dry, not oily). I wasn’t asked how often I washed my pillowcase (not enough). I wasn’t asked whether I picked (I do).
At this point, I don’t even remember all of the different expensive medications they gave me over the years. I remember Benzoyl Peroxide, Differen, Tazorac, Retin-A, Cetaphil, and some sort of liquid blotter in a bottle. I know there were more. My skin only got worse when using any of them. I saw no decrease in acne and a sharp increase in redness, peeling, and shininess. I was mocked incessantly about how shiny my face was by the other students in elementary school. They were right- my giant forehead (fivehead) reflected like a mirror and was even more prominent than usual, something I was very self conscious about. .
The shine was a combination of raw skin and product buildup. The top layer of my forehead skin had peeled off early on and never seemed to grow back. I kept using the products, constantly hearing, “It has to get worse before it gets better.” Except it never got better. It got worse and worse and worse. My horrible tendency to pick at the flaking skin did not help at all, and I now have plenty of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This wasn’t at all helped by the 30 minutes of sun exposure at prime sun hours during recess every school day and full days on weekends. I was told to “avoid excess sun exposure,” which in my 11 year old brain meant “don’t lay out in the sun” which I didn’t do anyway. They did not make it clear to me that any sun exposure on my glow in the dark complexion was both counterproductive to my acne and would make every inflammation problem I was having far worse. Eventually I stopped using all of the prescriptions and just let them sit in a drawer untouched.
Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of cases where dermatologists have helped dramatically. There are many that I’m sure do thorough consultations, many who truly help acne and rosacea cases. Accutane was very effective treating the deep cystic acne of my siblings. I have personally told many clients to see a dermatologist for suspicious spots, at least two of which have been diagnosed as skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma). Dermatologists help with diseases and cancer. They are indispensable.
However, as a nurse practitioner puts it, “Their product toolboxes are too small.” Beautification of skin is the entirety of what an Esthetician does. Appointments are generally an hour or more. A good Esthetician will ask in depth questions about a client’s routines, lifestyle, history and issues. Skin care routines will be recommended, adjusted, perfected. Treatments are done not only to beautify the skin but to calm the mind and body. The stress cycle will be explained and discussed. Exfoliation, extractions, and hydrating masks can be done to speed up the improvement of a new skin care routine.