Have you ever wondered why babies have flawless skin? Or why children start to break out when they hit puberty. The answer is in the skin. Within the layers of the skin are sweat and sebaceous glands; however it is not until we reach the ages between 9 – 11 that they start to actually produce an oil called sebum.
Some health care professional believe that sebum production is good; however, there are those who do not share in that opinion. Acne is caused by an over production of sebum and can be very frustrating for those individuals that have to deal with it. Skincare professionals strive everyday to help people deal and correct their acne.
But it doesn’t stop with acne. Sebum or oil can also cause other skin disease and disorders like rosacea and melasma. So in order to correct these issues we need to make the skin healthy. Once the skin is healthy, these problems will start to go away and the skin will clear up.
Of course your next question is, “How do I make my skin healthy?” Direction, diligence and the correct products are all key to happy glowing skin. If you don’t have a good skincare regimen or you don’t know what that is, then you are in the right place and I’m committed to helping you every step of the way.
Give Yourself the Perfect Facial
Step One: Cleanse Your Skin
Let us begin with the logical first step, cleansing the skin. There are two different types of cleansers: milky, for more hydration or gel cleansers, for breaking down oil production. The rule of thumb is if you are still producing oil (having an occasional brake out) you should be using a gel cleanser. In my experience anyone below 60 years of age should be using a gel cleanser and 60 years old and above should be using a milky cleanser.
If it’s not broke don’t fix it!! When it comes to your cleanser, if it’s working for you then there’s no reason to change it up. The only purpose a cleanser has is to clean the skin and get it ready for the next step. Milky cleansers are easy to shop for because the purpose is to clean the skin without drying it out, so most formulations do just that. Gel cleansers are quite a bit more complicated.
If you have any type of acne, black or white heads included, you should be using a cleanser with an active ingredient: glycolic, salicylic or retinol are my favorites. If you don’t struggle with acne then you can choose any gel cleanser of your choice, however if should be noted that cleansers with active ingredients provide extra exfoliation. I personally prefer active ingredients above all else.
Congratulations by now you should know what kind of cleanser you will need; however, we still need to discuss how to use it. In the morning one cleanse is efficient, but at night you should always cleanse your skin twice. The first cleanse is considered a superficial cleanse. This is because it really only cleans the dirt, oil, pollution, sweat, makeup, sunscreen or sunblock and another daily Grimes. It is not until your second cleanse that you actually cleanse the skin.
So one cleanse in the morning and two cleanses at night. Finally the removal process; use your hands to remove your cleanser. It’s more gentle and less abrasive than a wash cloth that can also hard bacteria that can cause acne.
However, if you insist on using a wash cloth, then make sure you have a clean one for everyday. Don’t scrub, pat lightly and don’t use hot water. Warm water is preferred for the removal of all products.
Lastly, if you use a cleansing brush make sure you clean the brush and change it out regularly, because they can also cause harmful bacteria.
Step Two: Exfoliate Your Skin
Step two is by far my favorite step, completely overlooked and misunderstood. The importance of exfoliating is not to be taken for granted or misjudged like in the past. Presently, skincare therapist and doctors are advising to do a light exfoliation once a day.
By lightly exfoliating the dead skin cells once a day you will increase collegen, smooth and brighten the skin. The stimulation wakes up those cells, brings fresh oxygenated blood to the surface and prepares it for something better.
Like cleansers, there are two different types of exfoliators; mechanical and chemical. These names pretty much speak for themselves; a mechanical exfoliation means that you or someone else will have to perform the removal of dead skin cells manually.
Scrubs may vary depending on what they contain. Some scrubs can be more abrasive than others. Beads and sugar create a light exfoliation, but will definitely bring some blood up to the surface.
Salt, ground nut shells and crystals on the other hand create more blood flow and exfoliate with more intensity. Shaving also makes for a nice light exfoliation. When done daily, shaving can definitely keep the cells stimulated and keep the skin glowing by enabling the accumulation of skin cells.
A chemical exfoliation is the removal of cells through a chemical reaction. There are a variety of acid peels with different strengths and are by far the most aggressive of the chemical exfoliators.
Enzymes, are another type of chemical exfoliation, also comes in different varieties and strengths which works by consuming the dead skin cells when left on the skin for a period of time.
Choose an Exfoliator
When choosing an exfoliator always factor in why, what, when and how. Let’s say you never exfoliate your skin but today you are going to start. Asking yourself these simple questions can certainly help with this process.
Okay, perfect, so why do need to start today? Your skins surface is becoming dull and tierd looking. You have an occasional brakeout but nothing bothersome. You just really miss your youthful glow.
So, what should you use and why? I would start with a 30% Glycolic treatment and leave it on for 3-5 minutes. If you are not pink after the 3 minutes continue to leave it on for the full 5 minutes.
Why would I choose a 30% Glycolic treatment? A 30% Glycolic treatment is a good starter peel. It will brighten up the skin and stop the occasional brakeout along with all of the other benefits discussed earlier. It Should also be noted that glycolic acid will continue to work for a full 30 days. So it is not necessary to do it again until the next month.
How do you do a Glycolic treatment? You can go to a Dermatologist, a scincare therapist or you can learn how to do them at home.
Say hello to your new baby skin. Dull skin is a thing of the past, but you have to maintain your skin and your investment. With this in mind we still need to exfoliate everyday. However, you have more freedom to have a little more fun in what you choose.
For the next four days after your Glycolic treatment, I recommend going with a light exfoliator and then feel free to choose what ever exfoliater you prefer.
Step Three: Extractions
Treat your pores like temples; be gentle and loving!! For most of us extractions are a big part of making the skin healthy. The cleaner the skin is of debris the healthier it can become. This will create less of a need for extractions; however, doing your own extractions can be tricky.
I recommend if you are going to do or are already doing your own extractions then you should use the correct tools and learn the different extracting methods.
Tools of the Trade
An extractor tool is used by skincare professionals and can be very helpful to get into small tight areas like your nose and chin; consequencely, too much force could cause harm to your skin. So when doing extractions be gentle and make sure you can see clearly what you are doing.
If you cannot see what you are doing then how do you know what you are extracting? Or if you are even extracting it in the correct spot? What you need is a good magnifying mirror. One that can magnify up to 20x. Even a 15x will not allow you to see the pore as much as needed. Make sure that the lighting is good or go somewhere with better lighting. If you get a mirror with a built-in light make sure it still magnifies 20x.
Finally, be clean, wash your hands very good before doing exstractions. Make sure to soak your exstractor tool in rubbing alcohol for 20 minutes before and after exstractions. Use facial tissue to soften fingers and to protect the skin underneath and the surrounding pores. The tissue is also nice for soaking up fluid and debris.
Skin rolling and creating a mound are the two different types of exstracting Methods. Skin rolling starts in the same manner as creating a mound only instead of pushing the debris up and out you roll it out between the two fingers.
So let’s start with creating a mound. Take your two pointer fingers and position the pimple in the center. Pull the skin tight with the two fingers and then bring them together creating a mound. Move the fingers back and forth and up while trying to dislodge the debris.
Skin rolling is used mainly for the t-zone area: forehead including between the eyes, nose and chin. Skin rolling is used to clean out lots of pores at one time instead of targeting one specific spot.
Step Four: Masking the Skin
I find it incredibly strange how we forget things we once did on a regular basis. One day you wake up and the light bulb goes off and you think to yourself, “why did I ever stop doing that?” I think it is even stranger when you forget something that is good, healthy and makes you feel good. But thanks to our busy lives it happens all of the time.
I have recently fell back in love with facial masks. When I was in school learning to be an esthetician they were definitly one of my favorite parts of the facial. Also, when I was in high school I made my own homemade masks out of egg yolks and honey; consequently, they are both very good natural masks. Honey adds hydration and gives the skin a beautiful glow, while egg yolks are good source of protien. When left on until dry, egg yolk promotes healing and minimze pore size; a great mask for after extractions.
While working in a medical office I wanted to see what it would be like to work for a five star day spa. It was this job that reminded me how wonderful masks can be and beneficial if done on a regular basis.
The Best Mask for the Job
Decisions, decisions… with masks gaining popularity, it makes choosing the right one for the right job even more challaging. So I have complied a simple list of ingredients and their specific benefits down below. With this being said, it is very important to start reading labels. Choose a mask that benefits or corrects a concern.
Take it one step further and start comparing different products. It’s not enough to grab a mask and go, because there are so many different types. Here is an example of what I’m talking about. Say you are looking for a skin brightening mask. You will want to choose one that has vitamin C; however, there are three different masks with vitamin C and you don’t know which one is the best. Now it is time to compare labels. Skim through the ingredient lists. Which ever mask has vitamin C listed closest to the top of the ingredient list is going to be the most powerful because it will contain the most vitamin C.
Active ingredients are best for creating results and
correcting issues and concerns in the skin.
Vitamin C – An active ingredient that helps to brighten and lighten discoloration. An antioxidant which slows down the free radicals; furthermore, slowing down the aging process. Great for malasma, hyperpigmentation, post hyperinflamatory pigmenation, sun damaged and aging skin.
Retinol – This is a very powerful active ingredient and one of my favorites. It speeds up cell turnover, promotes collagen, brightens and smoothes texture, firms, helps with acne and so much more. When used in larger doses retinol can cause the skin to shed; cell turnover. This is a normal reaction and is considered an acute inflammation. It’s this acute inflammation that signals the the collagen production, which is how you get all of these great benefits. The key to retinol is to start slowly and build up.
Collagen – The skin has two proteins, collagen and elastin. Both are are essential for beautiful healthy skin. Collagen is your skins solution to healing and correcting.
Hyaluronic Acid – This is good for hydrating the skins surface. It has a very large molecular structure so it does not penetrate into the skin.
Coconut – High in antioxidants making it powerful and natural. Coconut oil is rich yet very gentle, softening and moisturizing. Great for soothing fatigued and inflamed skin.
Aloe – Calms, soothes and hydrates. As Ayurveda becomes more popular in the states, more people are turning to Ayurvedic medicine. Aloe with its two hormones, Auxin and Gibberellins provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties which is used to heal chronic skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and more.
This ancient remedy is also a wonderful treatment for dry and sunburned skin, fights aging with vitamin C and E and can visually lessen the appearance of stretch marks.
Cucumber – Calms and soothes redness because it contains vitamin C and caffein acid which soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Caffein acid prevents water retention which makes them an excellent eye treatment for puffy swollen eyes. Cucumbers can also be an excellent treatment for burns and dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
Rose – Anti-inflammatory, calms and soothes redness which makes it great for couperose and rosacea. Revives the completion and brings dull skin back to life.
Seaweed/Sea Kelp – Nutrient rich, helps too firm and moisturize the skin due to vitamins, minerals and high in protein.
Shea Butter – Derived from the kernels of the Shea tree, naturally rich in fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E for nourishment and protection of the skin.
24K Gold – Firms and lifts the skin. Stimulates cells for increased blood circulation and creates a beautiful healthy glow. When blood comes to the surface it also brings with it a water and an oxygen molecule.
Rosehip Extract – Improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture and reduces the signs of aging. High in Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Vitamin A – Antioxidant that diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to the stimulation of collagen. The different forms of vitamin A or commonly called Retinoids:
- Retinoic Acid is the active form of vitamin A. This is the most powerful form and creates the best results.
- Retinol is the most popular form and is one step back; however, it still delivers excellent results.
- Retinyl Palmitate is a less irritating and more stable form but the least powerful.
Good for oily acneic skin types:
Clay and Mud – excess oil absorption, minimize and refine pores by drying and pulling debris out of the pore.
Willow bark – natural salicylic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic
Charcoal – thoroughly cleans the skin by binding to dirt and blackheads. Minimize pores and controls oil production.
Tea Tree – antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial.
Green tea – Antibacterial, fights against acne causing bacteria. Antioxidant, slows down the aging process by eliminating the free radicals that damage the skin. Improves skins tone and texture. Great for under eye puffiness and dark circles.
Enzyme Masks – Works by consuming the dead skin cells; therefore, they exfoliate the skin leaving it brighter and renewed.
- Pumpkin – is usually a hot mask due to the cinnamon and nutmeg. This stimulating mask causes the blood to come up to the surface of the skin and while doing do it also brings up fresh oxygen. Great for dull tierd skin.
- Papaya and Bromelain/enzyme found in pineapple juice and the stem – Fruit enzymes great for a more gentle exfoliation. High in vitamins and antioxidants. Bromelain reduces swelling and inflammation.