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. Oh my gosh!
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 and serum. 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. This Retinol Serum is amazing and when used correctly, can do great things for the skin.
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.
These are just the miscellaneous products that I didn’t mention in previous product posts.
Blemish Spot Treatment– This blemish spot treatment rapidly dries each blemish and encourages healing.
Soothes skin irritation
Reduces inflammation and redness
Clarifies and heals breakouts
Assists in boosting hydrating levels
Limits pigmentation and scarring
O2 Calming Gel– This ultimate hydrating skin gel calms, soothes and moisturizes dehydrated and irritated skin with natural organic botanical extracts. It is highly recommended as a comforting massage and ultrasound gel, combining the latest technology with organic natural ingredients which enhance a variety of biological functions resulting in added benefits. The calming gel immediately relieves burning, stinging, redness as well as irritated skin. It is also recommended as an excellent after shave gel that delivers instant and lasting comfort from shave irritation.
SS Sheer Protection SPF30– This is a light cream, sheer feeling sunblock that provides both UVA/UVB protection for all skin types.
Provides UVA and UVB sun protection
Ideal for daily wear
Lightly moisturizes and protects the skin
Cotton Squares– Absorbent towels will suck up expensive skin care. These are less absorbent on purpose! 200 per pack
Konjac Sponge– Bestselling 100% Pure Konjac Sponge deeply cleanses, removes blackheads and gently exfoliates the skin. The unique net like structure of the vegetable fibres helps to stimulate blood flow and promote skin cell renewal.
Cleanses and Exfoliates the Delicate Eye Area
Removes Water Based Make-Up
Use With or Without Cleanser
Leaves Skin Radiant & Rejuvenated
Suitable for Sensitive Skin
100% Natural, Colouring & Additive Free
Silky Soft When Wet
GrandeLash Serum– GrandeLASH-MD is a TOP SELLING PRODUCT that is taking the beauty industry by storm! If you want the appearance of spectacular long lashes or full eyebrows naturally, GrandeLASH-MD is the right product for you. This SAFE and PROVEN formula will help to improve the appearance of your eyelashes and eyebrows in LENGTH, FULLNESS, THICKNESS and DARKNESS in only 4 to 8 weeks.
Grande Mascara– FEATURES
LASH OUT, give your lashes a boost with Grande Mascara!
Volumized, Extended, Lifted lashes
Flirtatious lash fringe for a bold, curved and clump-free finish
Precise, separated corner and bottom lashes
Instant extreme volume & length
Helps maintain the effect of GrandeLASH-md
Grande Brow– A tinted brush-on brow gel crafted in Italy & infused with fibers and peptides; adheres to even the finest brow hairs, leaving them fuller and more defined with a single application. Our long-wear formula evenly coats the brows with a natural tint while filling in sparse areas, allowing you to sculpt and define your arches for a bold brow look that lasts all day. Available in a dark gel and a light gel.
My mom has always been into wearing her right colors. And by right colors, I mean the colors that look best on her. She says that she instinctively knew what looked good.
Each person is a season. Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn. Each season has a palette of colors that look best on us. A lot of people are naturally drawn to the colors that look best on them and don’t know it.
Growing up my siblings and I always wore our colors. My mom taught us from day one what was best for us. Between the 5 of us, we are 2 winters, 2 autumns and a spring. I passed my knowledge about colors to my friends and most didn’t care. They thought I was crazy and that everyone should have a little black dress in their closet. My response was always…not if you don’t look good in it!
I’m a Winter. Since I’ve always known it, I’m not sure if I’m drawn to my colors because I already know what works or if it’s instinct like my mom. It doesn’t matter though. You will never see me out of my color palette. Same with my siblings. We never strayed. And now most of my nieces and nephews (all except 2 and I have 11) wear their right colors.
We aren’t crazy, I promise. Here is why. Everyone looks better when they are wearing their colors. That is simply a fact. It’s a very easy way to improve your appearance without effort. The other side of it is when you wear the wrong colors, it brings out the imperfections in your skin. The things you are trying to hide with makeup, like redness.
One of my sisters and I rarely wear makeup. If we also wore the wrong colors, we would be disasters. We are pretty much relying on the colors of our clothes to do all the work. Well, that and great skin care products!
Now, if you still insist that you must wear that little black dress…you can. Get a style that the color isn’t close to your face. Wear a sweater or scarf or whatever works with the outfit that fits in YOUR color palette. That way you get the dress but still look good!
Red is in my palette. A true red. I don’t feel comfortable in that color because it’s eye-catching and I like to blend in rather than stand out. I have noticed over the years that a lot of people who don’t look good in red, will be the ones who wear it. It’s not as eye-catching on someone who is a spring, for example. Springs can wear red, but an orange-red is what is best.
So how do you figure out what season you are? I will also post pics of each seasons color palettes on my blog and also some examples of women wearing the right vs the wrong color. Here are a couple of ways to break it down first…
Do you look better in silver or gold jewelry?
Silver- Summer and Winter
Gold- Spring and Autumn
Find different (solid) colors in your closet and hold them up to your face. Make sure you’re in good lighting. What looks best? For me as a Winter, if I hold up an orange shirt, it’s going to make me look blah and probably a little sickly. If I hold up a black shirt, all of sudden my skin looks great again. Ask a friend if you’re not sure. Shades of white are good to use too. Winters can wear pure white, whereas a spring would wear ivory. You want the colors you wear to warm you up, not make you look pale.
You can also pay attention to what people compliment you on. If you every time you wear a certain blue shirt and people say you look good, then find out what color blue that season is and go from there. I’ve said it about makeup. You want someone to compliment you on your face, not how pretty your eyeshadow is. It works with clothes too. You want someone to look at you and say how pretty you look rather than tell you that you’re wearing a pretty shirt. Not that you can’t do both, but wouldn’t you rather look good than have a pretty top?
What is exfoliation? It is the removal of surface dry skin cells. How do you know if you need to do it? Everyone needs to but it then becomes a question of how often and what should be used. This will all be discussed. And I want to be clear that my recommendations are in general terms since everyone really is different.
Why should you exfoliate? It’s considered a very important technique to achieving healthy and glowing skin. Sometimes when I perform a facial, I am surprised at the immediate difference in the skin after exfoliating.
Basics of exfoliation. We only want to exfoliate at night. When you do it in the morning, you make your skin more vulnerable to the sun but also, the products that are used at night are usually (supposed to be) products to help repair the skin and stimulate cellular regeneration. Freshly exfoliated skin will take in these ingredients much better.
And generally speaking, you want to exfoliate about 3-4 times a week. This number changes based on your skin and skin needs and also what you want accomplished.
Here are some things that can happen if you exfoliate daily…
Flaking, redness and underlying inflammation of the skin because the moisture barrier is damaged.
Dryness and dehydration
Sometimes we do damage that cannot be seen. You can age the skin prematurely when there is chronic inflammation
You can destroy healthy cells
The more you exfoliate the more you are stimulating melanin activity and that can result in hyperpigmentation
Products that used to work for you may not anymore because you have stripped and irritated the skin
There are 2 types of exfoliation. Physical and Chemical. A physical exfoliate is a facial brush, facial sponge, scrub, washcloth or anything similar that will lift off dead skin and a chemical exfoliate dissolves the dead skin and examples of that is a glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
As always for the product talk episode, I will discuss the products I use and retail.
SS Retinol 2% Exfoliating Scrub– This scrub is a powerful cellular turnover scrub with Retinol (Vitamin A) and jojoba beads to clean, soothe and polish the skin. The retinol encourages the breakup of blackheads and clogged pores, jojoba beads gently exfoliate dead skin cells, while kojic lightens age spots and blemishes left from scars. I love this one because it doubles as a mask. I always tell my clients to use it in the shower. Cleanse your face, apply the scrub and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The steam from the shower will help push the ingredients into the skin (kind of like when estheticians use steam during a facial). Shave your legs, wash your body or whatever while the mask does its job and then rinse off. Of course you don’t have to do it this way.
Lessens Visible Aging
Provides Chemical and Physical Exfoliation
Promotes Collagen Synthesis
Assists in Healing and Rejuvenating
SS Raspberry Refining Scrub– Polish and energize the skin with the antioxidants raspberry and marionberry which will brighten skin and provide anti-inflammatory-like benefits to soothe skin irritations. Jojoba beads and blue corn meal gently exfoliate to remove surface build-up provides physical exfoliation while exfoliating and lightening ingredients work in tandem to promote a clear, healthy skin tone. For all skin types as a mechanical exfoliation. Safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. I like to always be honest with you so I’m going to tell you that this is not my favorite scrub. I have clients that love it and it’s safe during pregnancy, which is nice to have an alternative. There is nothing wrong with it but it’s just not my go-to.
SS Glycolic and Retinol Pads– These pads break up surface oil to refine pores and reveal fresh, healthy skin. Kojic and arbutin lighten sun spots and scars left from blemishes. I’ve talked about these on other episodes. These are really great because they do so many things. Here’s the thing…if you’re looking to lighten your skin and make a change, these will do it. Plus, they can be used on your neck, chest, hands, feet and elbows.
Provides surface renewal and resurfacing
Purges and exfoliates
Removes oil and debris
Prevents future breakouts
Assists in Anti-wrinkle actions
Lightens pigmentation spots
Improves Skin Function
SS Beta Carotene/Papain Renewal Serum– Yes, this is a serum but it’s also considered a form of exfoliation. With aloe and olive. A mild exfoliation serum for sensitive skin. Beta carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A; papain is an enzyme derived from papayas. May be used on pregnant or lactating women which is why I retail this one and why it’s so great. When you’re pregnant, you’re very limited on what you can use and this helps.
Improves Skin Barrier Integrity by Balancing Surface Lipids
Exfoliates to Reduce Visible Wrinkles
LM Beta Acid– The American Academy of Dermatology currently recognizes Salicylic Acid (Beta Acid) as one of the most effective agents available for acne skin by significantly reducing build up of dead skin cells through a gentle exfoliation process. You actually apply this at night and leave it on. It has done amazing things for my clients. When it comes to acne you really do need something strong that will actually go deep into the skin and kill the bacteria. Salicylic is my favorite because it’s more gentle. It’s under exfoliation because it’s an acid and will help exfoliate the skin.
LM Vita-C Clear Skin Pad– Gentle micro-peel exfoliates and prepares the epidermal cell layers for faster and more effective penetration of other nutrients. Natural Vitamin C is infused within the soft fabric to help to brighten skin for a natural glow. These are definitely different than the Glycolic/Retinol Pads because first of all, they contain vitamin c but also because these pads are more about setting the skin up for the serums you apply after. And of course, they do exfoliate the skin.
LM Perfect Renewal System– This skin-perfecting system clears congested pores, improves uneven skin tone, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and blemishes. Features mandelic acid to enhance cellular turnover, while vitamin B, hyaluronic acid, and alpha-arbutin promote a smooth, radiant complexion. WHAT DOES IT DO? Clears congested pores and excess oil without causing dryness. Improves uneven tone and texture. Helps smooth out fine lines. Reduces the appearance of blemishes, including back acne. Restores radiant glow. These are closer to the Glycolic/Retinol Pads so I would choose one over the other, not both. I do love both though. These are probably a little bit more gentle and better for my sensitive skin. But to be honest, I use both and just switch when I run out of one. These have hyaluronic acid and we all know how great that is for the skin.
5% Glyco Polymer Solution– This polymerized micro-peel lightly exfoliates the skin with glycolic and lactic acids to refine uneven texture, clear and tighten pores, and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Features a marine enzyme known to preserve the skin’s collagen network, plus soothing botanical extracts that promote a smooth, healthy complexion with fewer breakouts. Wanna know why I sell this one? For Keratosis Pilaris or chicken skin. It’s those little red bumps that people get on the back of their arms. This is really great for getting rid of them. Of course it can be used on the face too but it’s not my first choice.
LM Ultrasonic Spatula– I love this tool. I talked about this on my episode about at-home tools. This is one of 2 devices that I retail and my most favorite. I actually use it in almost every facial. It gently exfoliates and helps lift clogged pores. Makes extractions easier during a facial. It’s so great for home use because you can’t really over use it, as most tend to do with devices. It’s like a little earthquake for the skin…shakes things up! And when you flip it over, it can help infuse your serums deeper into the skin.
For this week on product talk, I am going to discuss moisturizers.
First thing to know…everyone should wear one. Moisturizers offer different things but the one thing they all do, is protect the skin. The name itself is a little misleading in my opinion. Most people think that if you are feeling really dry, then just add moisturizer to fix it. This isn’t necessarily the case. You need actual hydration, like water, to hydrate the skin. Moisturizers lock in hydration. So if you are applying serums on damp skin and then immediately applying your moisturizer, you will be locking in that hydration and protecting your skin.
Now those that have oily skin or even those with acne tend to shy away from moisturizers. Please don’t. When you have oily skin, you need hydration. Your skin produces oil because it feels dehydrated and since it cannot produce water, you get oil. If you do the steps I said before…apply serums on damp skin and then immediately apply your moisturizer, then your skin will have hydration and therefore will begin to balance itself out. This is not going to be a quick fix. It’s something you have to do everyday. It’s also why I love grapeseed oil so much. It deeply hydrates your skin at night and in time, helps to balance the oil your skin is producing.
So now you know that everyone should wear a moisturizer but now I’m going to help you find one that works for you. I of course have my recommendations I am going to talk about but here are some tips.
Figure out your issue. Do you have dry skin? Oily skin? There are different moisturizers for different skin types and someone with dry skin will not like a moisturizer for oily skin.
Avoid moisturizers that contain mineral oil or petrolatum (another word for petroleum jelly). Definitely pore clogging ingredients. I’ll also throw in coconut oil since that is still a thing I hear about all the time. And yes, I know that some people use it and don’t have a problem…at least one they know about. It can irritate the skin and cause issues down the road. An important thing to know is that coconut oil doesn’t even penetrate the skin, it just lays on top. So if you are looking for hydration, this one won’t do it for you.
Once you pick one out, then here is a test you can do to see if it is appropriate for your skin. Apply it and wait 5 minutes. If you can still feel it, it’s too heavy for your skin.
For those that love a moisturizer that does a lot of things like a BB Cream, remember that skin care and makeup should always be separate. Anything that can correct the skin needs to penetrate. A BB Cream is only going to sit on the surface because it’s also a moisturizer. It’s not possible for it to do both, penetrate and sit on the surface.
Tinted Moisturizers- I think the idea of these are great but here is my suggestion. Find a moisturizer you love that is appropriate for your skin and also a foundation that also meets your needs. Then make your own tinted moisturizer. You get what you want and need from each product without compromising. And as an extra tips, apply your regular moisturizer first (and then hopefully your spf) and then your tinted moisturizer. Skin care first, makeup second. Also, if you have dryness or crevices in your skin, as most people do, the tinted moisturizer will lay more evenly on your skin if you apply the regular moisturizer first. And just as a side note: don’t bother with spf in your foundation. You have to wear 7x the amount you would (hopefully) normally wear to get that number on the bottle. If you always remember skin care first and makeup second, it will help you make a lot of decisions.
Moisturizers with SPF- This is fine. I prefer it separated but it’s not the end of the world.
Sometimes you need to change up your moisturizers for seasons. Those with dry skin don’t seem to need to as much (I know I don’t) but if you have oily skin, sometimes you feel like you need something lighter in the summer.
Moisturizers are important and should not be skipped. They do offer benefits for the skin but are not the skin changers that people expect. That’s why we have serums.
Now I will discuss the moisturizers I use and retail.
SS Light Aloe Moisturizer– I love this moisturizer for my teens, acne and oily skin clients. It’s very lightweight. Aloe is great for helping to heal the skin.
Benefits: Improves surface hydration
Encourages proper moisture levels
Normalizes water / oil balance
Soothing and Calming
Improves Skin Function
SS Ageless Skin Moisturizer– This one is a step up from the Light Aloe. It gives the skin a little bit more so usually when the skin improves, my clients will move from the Light Aloe to this one. It’s also just a good basic moisturizer. And it’s only about $15 so you can’t lose.
Benefits: Ageless Skin Moisturizer Benefits:
Improves Surface Hydration
Encourages Proper Moisture Levels
Soothing and Calming
Improves Skin Function
SS Hydrating Moisturizer– This one is for dry skin. It has aloe, shea butter and rose hip which all helps to heal, strengthen and soothe dry, inflamed skin. I used this one for years before I became obsessed with another. At only about $23, this one is great for dry skin and isn’t expensive.
Benefits: Binds moisture to the skin to reduce wrinkle depth
Boosts collagen to improve appearance of wrinkles
Soothes and heals chapped and irritated skin
SS Cacteen Balancing Moisturizer– I like this one for my sensitive skin clients. Gives the skin what it needs without anything in it to possibly irritate it.
Benefits: Provides anti-inflammatory-like benefits Normalizes water/oil balance Soothes and calms
SS Peptide Restoration Moisturizer– This is a good anti-aging one. It has antioxidants and peptides to help with the growth of epidermal cells. Feels great on the skin. I like this one but I do have 2 others that are my favorites to recommend for anti-aging.
LM Essence Moisturizer– Lightweight and hydrating moisturizer. It’s an anti-aging one but more lightweight than most. Our skin gets drier as we age so this is the beginners anti-aging moisturizer.
LM 24 Hr. Age Defying Cream– I can’t say enough about this moisturizer. It’s what I use now and I am in love with it. I love the way it feels and I love the way it makes my skin glow. Definitely for normal to dry skin. Really great to use on the neck and chest! This one is a little pricey and honestly, if I didn’t love it so much, I wouldn’t retail it. I always am aware of what things cost but this is a special product. This is worth it, in my opinion.
LM Bio Cell Rejuvenating Cream– Another fantastic moisturizer from Le Mieux. While this one actually costs less than the Age-Defying Cream, it is the one to use for anti-aging so I recommend this to clients usually 50 years and up. It’s creamy and silky and makes your skin look and feel amazing. It’s got lots of amino acids and peptides to help you age gracefully. It even has hyaluronic acid in it!
I am always asked about drugstore type products. As an esthetician, I only want to recommend products that I believe in and that I know will be good for the skin. The professional lines that I use and retail were chosen because of the research I did. I didn’t just pick them because they are professional but because I know they will do what is expected. I know that the products I retail are high quality and results driven. I know there are a lot of active ingredients that will make changes in my clients skin. And by looking at some of the over the counter products (this includes places like Target and Nordstrom), the prices aren’t always higher for a professional line, especially the ones I use and retail.
So let me tell you the difference between professional lines and the over the counter ones…
Made in small batches
High levels of active ingredients
Chirally Correct- meaning only those ingredients that are molecularly appropriate for the human body to use
Does not contain colors or dyes
pH adjusted- meaning the products help keep our skin at a healthy pH
Smaller molecules so that the good ingredients can get in and do their job!
Over the Counter Products
Made in large batches and preservatives are added so they can last longer
Usually have lower percentage of active ingredients because they are sold as “for all skin types.” This means that the products need to be more basic and simple so as to not cause issues.
Formulated by chemists (not estheticians or those who have worked closely with skin)
Contains fragrances, colors and dyes to make products look and smell better for the consumer but can irritate the skin
Contains fillers and low quality, inexpensive oils that can clog pores.
High SPF numbers that mislead people into thinking that they are more effective with there is no scientific proof. So more chemicals, not more protection
Just because the bottle, jar or tube says that there is an ingredient in it, doesn’t mean there is enough to do anything for the skin
So let’s talk about some over the counter favorites.
Cetaphil– Cetaphil has sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is one of the most overused synthetic cosmetic ingredient that strips your natural lipid barrier. This surfactant and how it effects the skin makes you more susceptible to external irritants, increases internal inflammation while your skin cells become stressed, intensifying redness and possible breakouts as it negatively impacts your natural pH. It’s important that our skin is pH balanced since it’s first thing protecting us from bacteria.
It says that the Cetaphil cleanser is pH balanced, which it just might be, in the bottle. As soon as it comes in contact with our skin, it interferes with our own pH.
St. Ives Apricot Scrub– The walnuts used in this scrub are too big and with jagged edges. They will tear at your pores, enlarging them and also spreading bacteria from one side of your face to the other. Please never buy this again. If you currently have some, use it on your feet.
CeraVe– Some are ok to use, some products contain pore clogging ingredients and some can trigger rosacea flare-ups. I know they are all about barrier support but there are ingredients that can cause problems but not for everyone. If you went on vacation without your moisturizer, I would probably suggest this line.
Micellar Water– If you like it, it’s fine to use but only a pre-cleanse or makeup remover. I wouldn’t use this as your only cleanser.
Biore Strips– Are people still using these? Please don’t. It looks very satisfying when you pull that strip off your nose because there is stuff on it but guess what? That’s only getting the surface and not what’s under the skin. Just wait 2-3 days and it’s all coming to the top again. Go see a professional and get extractions. That’s what will help your blackheads!
Hyperpigmentation. It’s something we all struggle with, unfortunately. There are a lot of products out there making huge promises to get rid of it for. I’m going to break it down and explain to you the best options for the skin, without damaging the skin. As you know, that is always my goal. Let’s fix the problem without causing another one.
Some people are more prone to it than others, based on genetics, but everyone is susceptible. From the fairest skin to the darkest. This is why wearing sunscreen is so important for everyone (I’ll get more into that later).
Remember, no one is born with it. Every baby is free of hyperpigmentation, including freckles, which is also a type of hyperpigmentation.
Freckles are caused by melanin. Melanin is a pigment in the skin and is what gives skin its color. When the sun hits the skin, it causes a production on melanin so that it can protect the skin layers underneath. Once melanin builds up in one place, a freckle is the result.
Here are some ways our skin develops the pigmentation.
Sun Exposure– The sun triggers the production of melanin. The skin is usually worse in the summer months. Using good skin care and regular facial treatments, you can minimize damage. It is completely normal to have your skin get darker in some spots in the summer and lighter in those same spots in the winter. I want to also say, and this is important to remember, sun damage can take up to 10 years to show. That means you can think that your skin is fine after a summer in the sun but later your skin will show the damage. I haven’t tanned my face in 10 years and I am still surprised at the damage that shows up. I had a good time in my teen years and my 20’s!
Heat– This one usually surprises people. Most think that as long as they avoid the actual sun, they will not have any pigmentation. It definitely helps but heat triggers inflammation and inflammation triggers the increase of melanin activity. So even if you go to the beach and wear sunscreen, big sunglasses, a big hat and sit under a big umbrella you can still get the damage. Sorry, folks!
Over-Exfoliation– I am super careful with my clients on how often they exfoliate. When I create a home care plan for them, I consider both the physical and chemical exfoliations. Too much can cause pigmentation. As I said above, inflammation triggers the increase of melanin activity. Even if you can’t see the inflammation, it can still be happening.
Picking at Blemishes/Acne– This is bad for many reasons but one of the biggest ones is that it can create what is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). And like sun damage, you don’t always see it until a few years later.
Hormones– Due to the increase of hormones during pregnancy, melasma is often caused. Just another form of pigmentation but harder to lighten. A lot of women will experience what is called a “pregnancy mask.” The upper lip will darken. This can also happen with birth control and even some medications. Always ask your doctor. I have seen many clients with melasma all over their face so it’s not exclusive to the upper lip. Everyone is different in how they will react but there are some worse than others. I once took a birth control pill and immediately started getting that mask above my lip and I switched that pill real fast! Luckily, no long-term damage was done.
Now I will discuss ways to help the pigmented areas.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, shown to reduce the number of sunburned cells as well as reverse age-related damage to the skin. Antioxidants help fight cell damage from free radicals, which are molecules that could injure cells and increase inflammation.
It does not replace sunscreen, but Vitamin C protects against and may repair UV damage, like discoloration. It also helps brighten the skin, which can make the overall appearance of the skin healthier. This is safe for those pregnant or lactating.
Retinol- 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. Retinol works by promoting cellular renewal and collagen production to improve skin texture and to diminish brown spots. Not safe for those pregnant and lactating.
Exfoliation- It’s important not to exfoliate the skin to break up the pigmented areas. As I said before, be careful not to over-exfoliate. I have a great scrub that also acts as a mask. It has glycolic acid and retinol in it with gentle jojoba beads. I love it because over time it helps to lighten and lift hyperpigmentation. I also have these amazing glycolic/retinol pads that act as a toner so it’s a leave-on. Perfect for hyperpigmentation. Book a product consultation with me if you are interested in having me look over your routine using your products.
Sunscreen- Wear it everyday. SPF 30 is the perfect number. Most damage is done incidentally (about 78%), which means when you are not at the beach but just running errands around town or sitting in your car or next to a window at work. And just as a reminder, sunscreen in your makeup will not help. You have to wear about 7x the amount to actually get that number on the bottle. Sunscreen is skin care and skin care is separate from makeup. Skin care first, makeup second.
Facials- Always important but getting a facial (book with me if you’re local!) when dealing with a specific skin issue will definitely help. Make sure you address your concerns with your esthetician. What you see and what she (or he) sees may be different.
Chemical Peels- Oh my gosh! Anyone who knows me know these are my favorite especially when done in a series. I will only perform the chemical peel series between November and May because of the sun exposure. I am strict on this rule. No point in fixing the skin while damaging it. My series are done weekly over 8 weeks. Slow and steady. I recommend a home care plan so my clients can get the most benefits. They basically have no downtime and can resume normal activities. They might experience some flaking but nothing embarrassing or that will make you want to hide out in your house. You don’t have to peel with a peel because all the change is happening under the top layer.
I’m getting so many questions about how to fight dry, winter skin. I even got a call from my sister the other night and she lives in Utah. It just seems to be super dry this season so I wanted to give you all some suggestions to help your skin.
Exfoliate– Sometimes when our skin is dry or even sensitive (which is often caused by dryness), we skip exfoliation. This is important because it helps slough off the dead skin and allows your products to penetrate deeper and more efficiently therefore properly hydrating the skin. I gave myself a chemical peel on Monday night and unfortunately the next day it was windy and very dry. That meant my skin was very dry and it even got flaky. So last night I took my sponge and gently exfoliated. My skin feels and looks so much better today.
Moisturizer– While I don’t think this is a life changing product, it is important and which one we choose does matter. As the seasons change, sometimes we have to change our moisturizer. We often need something a little heavier in the winter to really protect our skin. I have a couple of favorites and I will post them on my blog. The one I use now feels amazing on my skin and gives me a glow even when I’m feeling dry. I’m a little obsessed with it and love putting it on everyday. The other thing to know about moisturizers is that you can’t rely on them to hydrate your skin. Serums will do that or even the grapeseed oil I recommend.
Grapeseed Oil– Use it every night. And if you want, you can also use it during the day as long as you are wearing sunscreen. Just apply a very small amount after serums and before moisturizer.
You might also have to change up your skin care routine. What you use and how often you use each product. Skin has different needs in the summer than it does in the winter. Adding a different serum can make a difference too. One that is just for making the skin feel better.
Chapped Lips– While licking your lips may feel good, it is only a temporary solution and may actually make them more chapped. The more you lick, the drier they get because the saliva attracts moisture from deep within the skin and then evaporates into dry air. Another thing to consider is that saliva has digestive enzymes and those can breakdown the skin. Use a lip balm because lip balm heals and chapstick protects.
Chapped Hands– If you find your hands are constantly in water then wear gloves. If you live in an environment that warrants wearing real gloves, wear them as often as possible. This will save your hands from the weather. You can also exfoliate your hands. Like your face, dead skin builds up and doesn’t allow product to penetrate. A nice hand treatment would be a hydrating mask and then apply some grapeseed oil on it and put on gloves or socks. Whatever works that is cotton. This is will force the oil deeper into your skin. You can do this overnight if you want. In fact, you can use the hydrating mask with gloves or socks and keep that on overnight. Both will work great and will also work for the feet!
Humidifier– Perfect to leave on at night so your skin stays hydrated. Even more needed if you have a heater on at night. When there is no moisture, the air will take it from within your skin, dehydrating you more. Bonus- this creates less static electricity!
I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. When you apply your products, you should be applying them to damp skin (not dripping wet). Right after your toner, apply your serums and follow up with your moisturizer and sunscreen. When your skin is damp, it allows your moisturizer to lock in that hydration. Super important to not feeling dry. Your moisturizer and sunscreen will also go on smoother.
For the second week of product talk, I am going to discuss Toner. Mostly misunderstood, I will explain why they are important and talk about my favorite ones.
The #1 reason why you should be using a toner is that it’s the last step in the cleansing process. It removes any excess cleanser, oil, dirt and makeup. But also, after you take a shower, a toner will removes chlorines and minerals often found in tap water. You know how your shower door has a film on it? That is what happens to your skin so it’s important to remove it.
When you use a toner and leave the skin damp, it gives your skin moisture before applying serums and moisturizer therefore locking the hydration into the skin. Just make the toner is alcohol-free, otherwise you will just be drying out the skin.
Toners will usually enhance your skin care regimen. Depending on which one your using, they can contain active ingredients to help skin issues. And research has shown that moist skin is actually 10 times more permeable than dry skin. So this means that leaving your skin damp when applying serums and moisturizer will allow the active ingredients to penetrate deeper therefore giving you better results.
I always recommend using a cotton square with a toner. Although some come in a pad form (as I will talk about later), others come in a spray. Spray the cotton and then wipe your face. By the way, these cotton wipes are so great! They do not absorb product like most cotton does so whatever you spray on it, is what you use. No wasted product and that saves you money!
Now I will discuss the toners I use and retail.
Cucumber Toner– Re-hydrates the skin while improving cellular functions and absorption of ingredients. Soothes and normalizes skin tissues. This is a client favorite because it smells so good and feels great on the skin. I recommend this as a daily toner for all skin types. This comes in a spray so you would use cotton to apply.
Topically Reduces Discomfort & Irritation
Assists in Boosting Hydration Levels
ISO-Cell Solution– A unique formula recommended for cleansing and providing supplemental nutrients for wound care. It mimics the composition of blood by providing nutrients from the outside, while complementing the bloodstream work from the inside. The benefits are accelerated healing process and retention of moisture for tissue regeneration. This does not have a scent, which appeals to some. I like this toner for those with acne. Since it’s healing, it helps while the skin is clearing up acne. This also comes in a spray so you would use cotton to apply. It’s used daily.
Clarifying Toner Pads- This acne control toner assists the cleanser in cellular turnover bringing oil and debris to the surface of the skin – the salicylic dries the uplifted oil. This step also removes excess dirt, oil and makeup left after the cleansing process. Tea tree calms and soothes the skin. Great for teens battling breakouts and acne. I also recommend these to adults dealing with acne. Since these pads have salicylic acid, they can be drying to the skin so I only recommend them to be used about 3-4 times a week and only at night. As I’ve said in previous podcasts, exfoliation should only be done at night and these definitely exfoliate. Sometimes these will tingle and sting a little bit but it goes away quickly.
Reverses fine lines
Reduces oil production
Provides antibacterial protection
Heals cystic breakouts
Enhances cellular turnover
Glycolic and Retinol Pads– These pads break up surface oil to refine pores and reveal fresh, healthy skin. Kojic and arbutin lighten sun spots and scars left from blemishes. I love these pads for those who want to lift hyperpigmentation and also to brighten the skin. Like the Clarifying Pads, I only recommend these pads to be used about 3-4 times a week and at night. Sometimes these will tingle and sting a little bit but it goes away quickly.
I will also use these pads on my elbows and bottom of my feet. They make those areas so smooth!
Provides surface renewal and resurfacing
Purges and exfoliates
Removes oil and debris
Prevents future breakouts
Assists in Anti-wrinkle actions
Lightens pigmentation spots
Improves Skin Function
I really do love all these toners and they are great on their own but even better when added to a good skin care regimen.
Pure Skin Talk covers acne to anti-aging and everything in between. These are short and easy to listen to episodes. They are not product specific so everyone can benefit! Sometimes specials are even offered to the online store and if you are local to Orange County for facials!!
Look for Pure Skin Talk on your favorite podcast app!