Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tips for Healthy Skin

This post is for all skin types & conditions.

  • Maintain a consistent AM/PM skincare regime.  Changing products results in flare ups, irritation and little to no beneficial results.  A simple regime may consist of  A) Cleanser B) Treatment ( serum, Vitamin C, acne treatment, retinol, glycol, ect)  C) Moisturize (AM and PM) +SPF (AM).  There are plenty of moisturizers with spf 15+, but I recommend spf 30 everyday regardless if its cloudy or you are indoors.  
  • Choose a cleanser for your skin type/condition.  Unless you are oily within a hour of cleansing, you won't need a foam cleanser (already foam when you pump the bottle).  It will be too drying for your skin, stripping it of vital moisture.  Excess oil and natural moisture barrier are too different things.
  • Always cleanse 1-2 minutes with TEPID (lukewarm) water, never hot.  It strips skin, dries and irritates.
  • Apply skincare products in order 1) Cleanse & Tone 3) Treat/Repair 4) Hydrate/Protect (SPF for day time) 5) Primer & Foundation
  • Most drugstore skin products are too harsh on skin (contain excess alcohol, chemicals, irritating ingredients, no anti-inflammatory's, or hydrators.)  Neutragena is the worst thing you can use.  I trust CeraVe products though.
  • Toner's purpose is to remove cleanser residue, debris and bring skin back to its pH.  Do not use 100% alcohol or witch hazel to tone-it's too stripping on skin.
  • Use a gentle exfoliant, not a gritty St. Ives type scrub.  It creates micro tears, damages and irritates skin.  Use a Beta hydroxy acid: salicylic acid (for acne or oily skin) or alpha hydroxy acid: glycolic, lactic citric, mandalic acids.  Enzyme exfoliants are gentle and effective. The Clarisonic also exfoliates!
  • Exfoliate 2x week and 3x week for oily/acne skin.  Normal/Combo skin: Murad T-Zone Pore Refining Gel  (amazing on blackheads).  Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask can be used on all skin types. Oily/Acne prone: Murad Acne Exfoliating Treatment Gel. Adult acne: Murad Acne & Wrinkle Reducer. Aging Skin: Murad Age Reform at home peel, Complete Reform and Intensive Wrinkle Reducer. As you can see I love Murad.  I also work with these products on a daily basis with amazing results =)
  • Make sure to cleanse skin in the evening.  Remove makeup-don't sleep in it.  Makeup wipes are not sufficient cleaning, so use your wipes to remove makeup, then wash your face.
  • EVERYONE needs to moisturize, especially oily & acne prone skin.  Without moisture your skin will try to overcompensate for needed moisture and produce even MORE oil.  Skin may not heal as fast either.  Try a oil-free moisturizer.  I love Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion (the ONLY moisturizer that doesn't break me out & has done wonders for my oily/acne prone skin.)
  • Steer clear of products with bright colors i.e. Neutragena (not the box, but the actual product).  They have overly irritating ingredients..dyes, synthetic fragrance that can wreak havoc on your skin.
  • Higher percentage of skin treatments does not equal better results.  Starting with a higher % can irritate your skin, putting your skin in shock.  Adjust slowly to products.  Take baby steps to avoid irritation.  
  • Don't try and dry your oily skin out or over scrub/over cleanse acne prone skin.  Your skin will produce more oily and your skin will become irritated.  I know this from personal experience (I am acne prone AND oily) & as a Professional Skincare Therapist
  • Don't over use cleanser, it can dehydrate skin.
  • Thoroughly rinse cleanser off skin, including hairline and sides of the face.  Rinse up to 4x if  necessary to remove all impurities and cleanser residue.
  • Apply serums, lotions, creams to still moist/damp skin.  Products will absorb better and lock in vital moisture. 
  • When using lightening/brightening products, apply product to entire face, neck and chest.  Do no spot treat, you will have light and dark spots if you do.  
  • Invest in a Clarisonic Mia!  It deep cleans skin with sonic micro massage brush, exfoliates, allows products to work faster & more effectively, refines pores.  Think your skin can't get any better?  Buy the Clarisonic Mia $119-it's worth it, believe me.
  • Avoid dimethicone or "cones" especially in primers-they don't allow your skin to breathe.  There are dimethicone & cone free primers out there!
  • Steer clear of skincare products by cosmetic company's (Mac for example).  Most have skin conditioning ingredients  to make skin look soft and smooth but with no real benefits.  Also they have the tendency to clog pores with synthetic ingredients, dimethicone, silicones, 'cones'.
  • Pick a great everyday SPF unlike greasy traditional SPF.  Murad has fantastic spf's: Acne/Oily-Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizing SPF 20. Aging skin: Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30. Sun Damage: Essential C Day Moisture SPF 30.  
  • A balanced diet can truly change your skin.  Eliminate fast food, fried food, processed food.  Juicing does wonders for the skin as well as fresh fruits and fish (omega fats great for anti aging).  Acne prone folks: follow the above statement and try and eliminate dairy, it has been shown to clear skin up.  I worked at a frozen yogurt ship for 3 years-after I left my skin cleared up (sugar too.)
  • Give your skin a nice boost with supplements.  A multi-vitamin and Green tea for everyone. Aging skin: Fish Oil,antioxidants: Pomegranate extract.  Acne prone skin: Zinc, B vitamins, yellow dock, burdock, antioxidants..Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Supplement hits all the marks.  L-lysine promotes healthy skin, heals skin (acne) and promotes collagen production.    

How to Choose a Cleanser for your Skin Type/Condition

Stay away form drugstore cleansers (with the exception of Cerave), my experience with them they are way to drying, strip the skin of vital moisture, contain irritating dyes, fragrance, too much alcohol- (too much of all the above) -especially Neutragena.  Neutragena is the devil.  Article coming soon..

1) Normal: A balanced complexion, not to oily or dry, but just right!  Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, Murad Renewing Cream Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, CeraVe Foaming Cleanser or Murad Refreshing Cleanser.

2) Dry: Lack of oil, tight, dry, flaky skin all over face, maybe sensitive (not to be confused with dehydrated-lack of water from skin treatments, not enough moisture, or general hydration).  Try a cream cleanser.  Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.

3) Combination: Oily in some areas (t-zone forehead, nose, chin) Dry in others (predominately cheek area).  Try Murad Energizing Pomegranate Cleanser or Renewing Cream Cleanser.

4) Oily: Larger pores, oily all over face, feels greasy, looks shiny.  Try a gel cleanser.  Neostrata Anti-bacterial Facial Cleanser, Murad Clarifying Cleanser or Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser (for adult skin oily & acne prone),  Andalou Naturals Citrus Kombucha Gel or CeraVe Foaming Cleanser.

Skin Conditions

1) Acne prone: Typically oily but some are dry.   Dry acne prone skin is harder to treat.  Look for salicylic acid, triclosan, sulfur, vitamin A (retinol), hydrogen peroxide (not the bottle to clean cuts), Tea tree oil (no it doesn't clog pores.  Antibacterial), BPO (benozyl peroxide.  Neostrata Anti-bacterial Facial Cleanser, Murad Clarifying Cleanser, Murad Time Release Cleaner (for adult acne), CeraVe Foaming Cleanser (only for very oily skin), CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for (normal, combo, dry skin), Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (3x week rotate cleanser with regular cleanser, for most skin types except extreme sensitive cases.)

2) Sensitive (considered a skin type & skin condition) : Easily irritated skin, blushes easily, may have rosacea or psoriasis.  Murad Soothing Gel Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.

3) Sensitized: Skin has become sensitive from treatments (retinols, glycol, ect) or overly harsh products with fragrance, dyes, irritating ingredients.  NOT normally sensitive.  Try same as Sensitive.  

4) Rosacea: Chronic skin condition you turn red, may swell, skin sores that look like acne, blushes easily, spider like blood vessels.  Same products as Sensitive/Sensitized.

5) Dehydrated (Lacking water) :Tight, over processed, parched skin.  Feels like your skin needs a drink of water & is not normally dry.  Avoid gel cleansers until skin is balanced again.   Try Murad Renewing Cleanser, which protects skins natural moisture barrier.  Instant relief. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is also a good option.

6) Aging Skin: Loss of elasticity & firmness, hyper pigmentation (dark spots, age spots, sun spots, melasma).  Murad Renewing Cream Cleanser or Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Skinceuticals Sheer SPF 50

"A groundbreaking first-to-market mattifying fluid with transparent finish, this paraben-free, all-physical filter sunscreen provides increased protection in an ultra-sheer texture for all skin types, even very sensitive. Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 offers the photoprotection of trusted broad-spectrum, physical filters, zinc oxide (Z-COTE) and titanium dioxide, and is enhanced by artemia salina, a plankton extract, to increase the skin’s defenses and resistance to UV and heat stress.  The unique ‘shake then apply’ action assures even distribution of active ingredients in this silky sheer fluid that dries quickly and leaves no residue."-Skinceuticals 

I wanted to love this, but the white cast is ridiculous and makes my foundation look HORRIBLE.  Great UVA/UVB sun protection with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  It took some time to get used to it and find a way to get rid of the white cast- I've given up on this SPF.  I mixed moisturizer and this spf in the palm of my hand to warm it up and it spreads easily onto skin.  The fact that it is liquid makes it lightweight, easier to absorb and less likely to clog pores.  I had a few clogged pores on my neck and jaw. Suitable for FAIR, sensitive, oily, acne prone skin.  I do NOT suggest for brown skin (the white cast is terrible.)

  • Provides non-chemical UVA/UVB protection (contains zinc oxide & titanium dioxide)
  • Matte Finish.
  • Non-comedogenic and Paraben free
  • Liquid formulation
  • Leaves a very noticeable white cast on brown skin (try mixed with moisturizer.)
  • Contains dimethicone (can prevent skin from breathing and breakouts.)
Update 5/11/12:  This SPF must be mixed with a moisturizer to diminish white cast.  I tried mixing  equal parts spf & moisturizer, but it still leaves a unnatural white cast on my bronze skin.

50 ml
Bottom line: A good SPF for fair skin tones.

*Daily (that means rain or shine, indoors & outdoors) use of SPF 30+ will prevent sun damage:age spots, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles and the general visual signs of aging.  SPF should be reapplied  every 2-3 hours and MUST be reapplied at the beach or during water activities.  NO SPF IS WATER RESISTANT OR WATERPROOF.

*Update: 1/22/13
I experienced irritation, a white/blue cast and clogged pores.

Becca Stick Foundation

"The ultimate skin savior, creating the illusion of flawless skin by evening out skin tone and lightly concealing blemishes. A unique balance between maximum sun protection (SPF 30+) and long lasting wear."-Becca

I tested the Stick foundation in "Maple" meant for dark tanned skin tones.  For color reference, skin tones matches best with Bobbi Brown natural foundation in "Golden".  Becca's "Maple" is more on the beige side, then yellow.  I found choosing shades to be very difficult online and the guide provided on the website to be even more confusing.  I suggest finding a salon that carries the line and testing shades before purchasing.  I experienced the coverage to be sheer to medium, very matte, powdery and not enough coverage for my hyper pigmentation.  The stick foundation can also be used as a concealer and has a light baby powder scent. My sensitive skin was unfortunately irritated by this scent.   

  • Contains broad spectrum SPF 30
  • Contains vitamins A,E,D to increase collagen renewal and helps skin retain moisture
Bottom line: Perfect for extremely oily skin or those living in humid weather, who need minimal coverage.
0.3 oz
Available at Becca

*Product provided by Becca Cosmetics.  This review is my honest opinion.