Acne. How to Improve Your Skin

Million dollar question, right? Sometimes acne can simply be caused by using the wrong products or not washing your skin at all. If this is the case, improving your skin will be much easier. Unfortunately, if your acne is hormonal then it will be much more difficult. We can usually improve the clarity, frequency and intensity though. Here are some tips…

1. Be consistent. Cleanse your skin every night and every morning.

2. Use products that are right for your skin and that will balance out the oil without dehydrating. Most OTC (over-the-counter, NOT professional) acne products take everything out of your skin and don’t replenish it. This can make things worse and/or cause you to age quicker.

3. Use Grapeseed Oil. This will hydrate your skin and balance the oil. Read here for al the benefits. My clients use and love this! It really does work. Cleanse, tone and apply oil. If you are using serums, apply those first and then the oil. A little goes a long way.

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4. Keep your pillowcase clean. Even though you are washing your face every night, this is still important. If have a more severe case, then you should be changing/washing it at least every week.

5. Use alcohol to clean your phones and sunglasses. Bacteria spreads very easily.

6. Don’t touch or pick at your face.

7. Get regular facials. Having an expert (like me!) do extractions helps. It’s better than you doing it and healthier for your skin.

8. Dairy can aggravate acne in some people. Give it up for 6-12 weeks to see if there is any significant improvement.

9. Drink lots and lots of water.

10. Make sure you aren’t using any pore clogging makeup. Heavy or thick foundations are not good for the skin. Try not reapply as the day goes on.

11. Wash your makeup brushes. You should wash them with baby shampoo at least twice a month and using a brush cleaner every single day. Of course, this is for people that wear makeup everyday. Adjust if necessary but those are the guidelines. Don’t reuse sponges and don’t use powder puffs.

12. Get a physical exfoliant like a sponge because it’s gentle.

13. Wear SPF because you should anyway but also because sometimes the sun can darken the blemishes and leave your skin with scars and hyper pigmentation.

14. Salicylic Acid should be in your products. This is dehydrating so remember to use other products that will replenish water loss. (see #3)

15. Be gentle. You don’t have to scrub hard or a lot to get results. Hopefully you are using effective products so that they can do all the work for you.

16. Have patience and know that it will not go away in a day or even a week. Avoid buying anything that tells you differently.

18. Book a consultation and/or facial with me. I can help! Book Here!!

Shop Acne Products:

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Tomorrow- Products to Avoid and Why

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OTC Skin Care Always Have the “Secret” Ingredients

How is it possible that almost (it seems) every OTC skin care company has the “secret” ingredient to anti-aging or acne or dry skin or whatever your skin ailment may be? They create these words that sound fancy, important and effective. In reality, they mean nothing because they made them up. I could create a word, give it a definition and start a buzz about it but that doesn’t mean it will do anything for your skin. Why don’t more people using these products have perfect skin or even better skin?

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OTC products, as I have said before, can only do so much. They cannot correct the skin, they can only temporarily fix it. This means that even if the product seems to be working, once you stop using it your skin will go back to where it was before, possibly worse (depending on how long it has been). It’s important to use products that will correct your skin condition or help with aging.

I went off on a tangent, sorry. 🙂 Let’s get back to the point of this post! One ingredient is simply not going to be the answer for anyone. It will always be a combination of ingredients and a routine that will help your skin.

On the flip side of things, some companies don’t even tell you what is in their products and only tell you what they will do…or what they are advertised to do. Create a flashy commercial, a pretty ad and for some reason this convinces us to buy. I have fallen for it.

Bottom Line- Know what you are putting on your skin and why. Do your research. Make sure that it is beneficial long-term. We all want to look and feel beautiful immediately but if that is going to hurt your skin later, is it worth it?

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Does a Miracle Product Really Exist?

Updated: September 2017

Every informercial and over-the-counter skin care line has the latest miracle ingredient or product that is going to do it all for you. Get rid of your wrinkles, cure your acne and forever hydrate your skin. That is not reality. Sorry. Even as much as I talk about the miracle that is grape seed oil, if you were using the wrong cleanser, the oil would not work as well or could even backfire on you.

I am often asked about different products from clients and from people on social media. They have a friend who used this great moisturizer and it did “this” and “that” for their skin and they want to know if they should buy it too thinking it will solve their problems. One product will not. It is a combination of everything you use to help your skin that will give you the skin you want.

From the cleanser to the sunscreen, it matters. The toner you use in the middle of your routine may offer wonderful benefits and may help your skin, but that toner alone will not be the answer.

Here are some tips:

  • Use the right products for YOUR skin (not your friends!)
  • Use the products consistently and correctly
  • Be patient. Most of the time you should see an immediate improvement (no matter how small) with a new routine but for a major difference, it will take time.
  • Listen to a professional (hopefully that is me!) and ignore your friends. They mean well but it can be difficult to help you if you are taking the advice of several people.
  • If you are my client, I am here to help. I will answer your questions and guide you. Switching up your routine or trying something new because it sounded “amazing” can mess up your skin. I’ve seen it happen. Talk to me.

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Will it Work? Truth Talk

So many myths and remedies that have been around for years and a lot of people don’t know if they work or of they should try it. Here is a list of some popular “tips” I read and hear about all the time that you should AVOID!

1. Toothpaste– It can dry out your skin and actually darken the areas that you apply it.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide– This is an effective spot treatment and can be used EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE but this is why I don’t think it should be used all the time… a. Drying to the skin   b. Can thin the skin   c. Makes your skin photo-sensitive   d. Can make your skin sensitive         e. Can make your Langerhan Cells go dormant- these are responsible for killing foreign viruses/molds/bacterias.

3. Biore Strips– These don’t work even though they appear that they do. The black stuff you are seeing is the top of the blackheads but the strip is not actually removing anything under the skin, where the the build-up is trapped.

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4. ProActiv– I’m sorry but I’m not a fan. And while this may work temporarily, it is not fixing the problem. It usually dries out the skin and after awhile, it stops working altogether.

5. Tanning (the sun or in a bed)- I know that people love this “remedy” but it just isn’t true. Tanning causes your skin to increase cell production which, in turn, creates more dead skin cells. That is what we are trying to avoid, right?

6. Dry Out Your Skin– I know people with oily skin want less oil. This is possible without drying out your skin. You need oil so it’s about finding a way to balance it. When you strip all the oil from your skin (most OTC products do this) then your skin produces more oil because it needs the moisture. It cannot produce water so you are left with oily skin. If you only use products that treat and replenish your skin, then you will find the balance.

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Accutane is Scary

Replacing One Problem for Another??

Doesn’t it look like her face hurts in that picture?

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Why can’t products just fix the skin without causing another problem? Why are so many Dermatologists and Estheticians prescribing methods that aren’t healthy for the skin? Over use of products can be just as damaging as the skin issue itself. I always knew the acne medications and OTC acne products dried out the skin but let me give you a list of problems my clients have traded…

1. Softer fine lines and wrinkles using Retin-A for many, many years- Now has thin skin and is super sensitive to a lot of products limiting her ability to fix or stop any other issues. (this is a VERY common one)

2. Keeping acne/breakouts to a minimum by using salicylic acid on her skin, overnight and Renova (Tretinoin)- Now has red, raised bumps on her face from the reaction of using the two together…she hasn’t been told to stop yet! (well, I suggested she did 🙂 )

3. Using a cleanser with Glycolic Acid in it once and sometimes twice a day for clearer skin- Now has thin skin and reacts to pretty much everything unless it is SUPER mild. And with this one, you may not know you are reacting until you have the side effects.

4. Applying straight Benzoyl Peroxide to the skin, every night, and leaving it on to help get rid of acne- Now has super dry skin and acne!

These ingredients/products also make you more sensitive to the sun. Well, if you live in southern California, that is a pretty hard thing to avoid. If you live an active outdoor lifestyle, it is even harder to avoid. Sunscreen is never an option but when using this stuff, you CANNOT go a day without it.

All of the above will force your skin to AGE FASTER. It will BREAK DOWN THE COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN (you know, the stuff that keeps the skin firm). I don’t blame my clients or the customers at Target for doing the wrong thing or choosing the wrong products. I blame the industry for misleading them. Retin-A can be fine, for a short time but not for the rest of their life. And, it seems, most are not educated on what these ingredients can do long-term. Clients should know what a product is going to do, good and bad, so that they can decide if it is worth it.

I don’t think I know everything about skin and skin care ingredients but I do care about my clients and their skin. I just want their skin to be healthy without misleading them and without making them spend a fortune. I am very honest. If someone asks me how they can get rid of their age spots on their face, I ask about their outdoor activity level first. If the sun is your friend, that’s ok, but that means you probably have to live with those spots. I will not age someone faster so that I can fix something. I only want to help the skin improve.

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Stop the Madness!

Why do so many cleansers have exfoliating beads in them now? Exfoliating the skin twice a day is not healthy and that is what is happening now. And this is not just in the OTC products, I am also seeing it in professional brands. Are Estheticians seriously recommending to their clients to exfoliate everyday? This is what my new clients are telling me.

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I had a new client come in recently and she is using an exfoliating cleanser, an exfoliating toner with 3 different acids in it, a serum with salicylic acid every other night (yep, it’s a leave-on) and Renova when she feels like she needs it. When does her skin have a chance to rejuvenate? And the worst part is, her skin isn’t reacting well or improving with this routine. Luckily, she is open to change and is letting me switch her products.

Less is usually better.

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Are OTC Skin Care Products Making Our Skin Worse?

Sometimes I wonder if this is true. Every client that gets a facial from me is asked about their skin care routine. I ask specifically what products and brands are used so I see what the skin care is doing to skin. I’m starting to see a pattern with certain brands that makes me want to tell everyone to STOP using them. I am also seeing a pattern with OTC brands in general. This is why I am questioning whether or not they are purposely trying to hurt our skin so that we have to keep buying more products. When you walk into a Nordstrom or a Target and stare at all their products, it’s overwhelming. How do you choose? How do you know what is right for your skin?

Acne products seem to dry out the skin. Then, you have to buy products that will help the dryness. When does it stop? Why can’t these OTC products just fix our skin without damaging it? Oil-free is not always best. Moisturizers don’t penetrate the skin. Toners should not have alcohol. Do you even know why you use a toner? Dark circles are almost impossible to get rid of because they are usually hereditary. Those white bumps (milia) under your eyes that never go away are there because you’re dehydrated. Do you know how to get the proper hydration to the eye area?

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Yes, I do sell my own professional products but I believe in what I sell and I use it myself. If I could, I would do all of this for free. It kills me what is out there and how much we are all mislead. The amount of money we spend on products that we either don’t ever use or don’t work, is astounding.

So, what do you think? I want to know if you agree with me. I absolutely do not believe it costs a fortune to have good skin but it IS costing us a fortune.

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Professional vs OTC Products

This chart says it all. So important so please take a moment. If you have any questions, please ask. And remember, just because they are “professional” products, it doesn’t mean expensive. Skin Scripts Rx and Le Mieux (lines I retail) are very reasonably priced.

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