Skin care can seem so complicated and overwhelming. With all the products on the market each touting to have the perfect answer you are looking for to achieve beautiful skin, I often find consumers looking for simple answers and clear information. One of the most asked questions skin care experts get is what do I really need to use every day and how often. Is just washing my face enough? What is a serum and why do you need one? At Sumbody we get calls, emails and customers walking into our stores daily looking for these answers. I love to see people really care about and want to take care of their skin. They have questions and are seeking answers. Trust me the chemists and formulators making these products know. Their companies try to ”sell” you what they want you to believe on the front of their package. Having just come back from being the keynote speaker at The Society Of Cosmetic Chemists annual convention this year, I can assure you, they are formulating with the knowledge that the consumer is looking for answers. The cosmetic companies they work for use this information to “sell” you what they want you to believe. So do you really need a day and night cream, 2 serums and new products very week? Learn the real measures you need in order to protect and nurture your skin and see the rewards in return. Please note although we are looking at what to do, this in no way helps you with which products and ingredient to use. All have different formulations, some good some not so. In an upcoming blog I will address what to look for in each of these products below and how to make your own at home.
There are 5 steps to perfect skin. As you will see serum can be skipped completely depending on your skins needs and a mask does not have to be every day. These basic steps preformed properly in conjunction with the right products will keep you glowing! The best at home skin care routine, still needs periodical professional facial for the utmost results.
Each step (except face mask) should be done morning and night.
Washing your face is a simple task, but the benefits of this simple action are innumerable. Before you wash (or touch!) your face, make sure to wash your hands. It is important to wash your face with lukewarm water, as water that is too hot can break capillaries, cause redness, and damage cells, but cold water in my observations, will not allow your pores to completely open. Once your face is dampened and warm, I teach my clients to apply cleanser in small, upward circular motions using the ring and middle fingers. These fingers are the weakest, thus ensuring that you won’t rub too hard and cause damage. The skin on our faces is more sensitive than we would think, meaning that it often suffers unintentional abuse, which can lead to long-term damage.
When cleansing by starting at the bottom of the face and working your way upward, I always tell me clients they are giving themselves an anti-gravity lift. This will also stimulate skin, getting blood flowing and allowing pores to open, ensuring that your skin gets truly clean. To rinse cleanser, gently splash with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Be careful not to damage skin by drying aggressively.
I have always love finding cost cutting measures and teaching clients how to either do without or make their own. When I was first starting as a young esthetician one of the things I told clients was they could skip toner in their skin care routine. I wish I could go and tell each and every one of them how wrong I was! In my many years of working with skin, I cansee how wrong I was. Toner is a must in a good skin care routine. It’s main functions are to close pores, remove the last traces of dirt and oil, re-balance skin’s pH after cleansing and to deposits active ingredient deeper into your skins layers after the dirt and oil is removed from cleansing. Toning will also get rid of any remaining traces of cleanser and/or mask. I see pore health just like body health, it benefits from a workout. So I devised a pore “exercise” after seeing to many congested pores. I find it beneficial to open and close pores repeatedly, as not only can they expel more unwanted build-up, they can also absorb actives more deeply each time. To do this work out I suggest freezing some of your toner in ice cube trays and the taking the frozen cubes into the shower. Let the steam of the shower gently heat your face and then apply ice, repeat till ice is melted.
Serums tend to confuse people. When do you use them, why do I really need one, what do they do, if I use one do I still need to moisturize? Plain and simple a serum is a problem solver. The only reason to use one is if you have a targeted problem that needs resolution. For example: pimples, wrinkles, dark spots or to prevent the signs of aging. Some serums can also be preventative, so they stop the problem before it starts. These serums can be everything from anti oxidants to prevent aging or hyaluronic acid to increase hydration. You can see some of the same active ingredients in moisturizer, but as a formulator we strive to make good serums formulated to penetrate deeper and just focus on their job. They can be more concentrated and with the single focus, get the job done. When I formulate serums I have more flexibility with the goals I am after not having to also address moisture. They are inherently different from a moisturizer and generally have a lighter formula to allow the active ingredients to be more deeply absorbed by skin. Serums are applied under moisturizer and should be paired with a complimentary facial moisturizer. When you use active ingredients that have a synergy with each other, results will be enhanced. When you use ones that are not formulated to be paired together they may reduce the efficacy.
Any skin expert will tell you dry skin is unhappy skin. We see the effects of dry skin all the time. It can lead to premature signs of aging, loss of luster and youthful glow, clogged pores, cell damage, and loss of beneficial nutrients. Proper hydration is a crucial part of skin health and anti-aging care. Even if your skin is oily, it may still need hydration (fluid) between the cells. Proper hydration is two-fold; skin needs both fluid and oil content, so it is very important to make sure that your skin is properly and fully hydrated. There are two basic kinds of moisturizers. Oils, that penetrate deeper than creams and actually helps to moderate skin’s oil production (although it may seem counter-intuitive to put oil on oily skin, this will actually be beneficial in the long-term as your skin will begin to understand and regulate its own oil production.), and face creams. When choosing a face cream make sure you find one with natural ingredients that help the cream penetrate your skin instead of just laying on top. If you are constantly applying face cream and never feeling hydrated, I suggest you look at one (or all) of these three things. Are you using a cleanser that is stripping your skin, are your pores clogged or is your facial cream actually penetrating the layers of skin.
Please note: When it comes to the eye region you will need a specific moisturizer formulated for that area. This is because the skin under the eyes is among the thinnest on the body, and very fragile and delicate. Some moisturizers contain actives that are too irritating around the eyes. Additionally dark circles can become a problem since as we age lose fat in the under-eye area. To resolve this issue you will need eye creams with actives targeted to address this.
Most people will try to skip using a mask. They either feel like it is unnecessary or they do not have the time and don’t want to spend the additional money. Lets address all these common reasons why people skip them and put it to rest! Facemasks are not a side note! A good mask is truly a workhorse of any good skin care routine. They support and enhance the goals you are trying to achieve as well as the right mask will keep your pores clean. Clean pores are no small part of healthy skin, ask any esthetician and they will tell you the importance and value. Seeing what clogged pores do to skin truly illuminates the importance of keeping them clean and healthy so they can breathe and function properly. As for time and money, the best way to use a mask is in the shower (which most people besides bath-tubbers are already doing), so gone are they days where you need to find and extra 10-20 minutes to lie down while your mask is on and there are so many effective masks you can make from what is in your fridge and pantry money is not an excuse either!
There are three types of masks: deep-pore, mid-pore, and topical.
When I formulate a deep-pore cleansing mask I am designing it to adhere to any accumulated build-up in the pores and remove it. This build up comes from everything from pollution, rancid oils, chemicals in our skin are to dead skin cells and smoke. While this is crucial to keep your pores clean for optimum skin health, it is important not to strip your skin and be over aggressive with chemical peels and microdermabrasions.
Mid-pore masks will keep your pores clear and healthy in the interim. They help prevent build up making deep cleaning easier and more effective. They can (and should) also have active ingredients that do everything from supply skin nutrition’s to anti-aging actives.
Topical masks are meant to do surface work. They can do everything from remove dead skin cells to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. They are not meant to clean your pores at all. Topical masks can give you that immediate look good, feel soft, radiating glow. The right topical mask can feel like a magical make over.
Using a combination of all the masks is best for all skin types. Deep pore cleaning can be done once a week, mid pore up to 3 times a week and most topical masks daily. It is best to either cover a mask with a hand towel that is saturated with lukewarm water (wrapped from chin to chin leaving out your mouth and nose), or apply in the shower. The gentle steam will not only hydrolyze actives deep into your pores but also keep the mask from drying, which actually mars its effectiveness. One way I teach my clients to get this effect is to apply their mask in the shower. It is my favorite method as far as time, effectiveness and ease. The warm moist steam from the shower acts like a professional estheticians facial steamer at home.