Skin Tip: Over Exfoliating Can Lead to Sensitivity!

Happy Friday readers!

Over the weekend I had a consultation with someone who was concerned with dry and tight feeling skin. After asking her questions regarding lifestyle and product use, I learned that she was exfoliating daily with a cleanser that had tiny beads.  While exfoliating is great, moderation, like anything else is key.  Too much can cause sensitivity, inflammation and dry skin as the skin’s protective barrier  becomes impaired.  Limit use to 2-3x per week.

Quick updates: 

My laptop got some kind of weird virus so that’s getting fixed over the weekend but I apologize if I am behind on comments and commenting on your posts;it’s a bit difficult to keep up with a phone/tablet.

Next week is my UCLA class and I’ll be busy trying to get everything in order but I have a few short posts lined up.  Here’s to hoping nothing else goes wrong. 🙂

If any of you pray, please keep me in your prayers- I’d really appreciate it.  I have been sick on and off for about two months now and I feel some of the medications I’ve taken have led to other problems.  It is very frustrating when you get rid of one issue and something else pops up.  I have two doctor’s appointments Monday so I hope I can start getting this resolved.

Have a lovely weekend, 

Stephanie 

Why AHAs Are Important in Anti-Aging Skincare!

Hi everyone!  How was your weekend?  My week is off to a great start.  I was able to attend a special event at the International Dermal Institute headed by Jane Wurwand who is the founder of Dermalogica.  Such an amazing and inspirational woman!  Her motivational speech was beyond fantastic and she has a lovely sense of humor and heart.  Also, I found out I won the giveaway hosted by Maiko from SkinConciergeMaiko! Yay!  Check out her blog for other awesome reviews and tips. 🙂

Alright, enough about that.  Let’s get right to the topic of today’s post which is alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs.

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Technically speaking, alpha hydroxy acids “are a group of water-soluble carboxylic acids that work to release the desmosomes that hold skin cells together.”  Hmmm. I fear I lost you guys. 🙂 In plain English, they are naturally occurring mild acids used as chemical exfoliants that help shed off dead skin cells.  They are hydrophilic (attracted to water) and are pH dependent meaning they require a lower pH to be effective.

Why are they Beneficial?

AHAs are highly coveted and present in many anti-aging products/treatments for the following reasons:

  • Allows for easier exfoliation
  • Increased cell turnover (hello glowing skin)
  • Stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin (something that decreases over time)
  • Firm the skin
  • Smooth and improve skin texture
  • Reduce lines and pigmentation
  • Leads to a more youthful appearance and feel
  • Increase ceramides (hydration)

*Note: Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin can result in sensitive itchy red skin.

What are the Different Types of Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

  • Lactic acid– derived from milk
  • Glycolic acid-derived from sugar
  • Citric acid- derived from citrus fruits
  • Tartaric acid- derived from grapes
  • Mandelic acid- derived from bitter almonds
  • Malic acid- derived from sour apples

*A special note on AHAs:  Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin, with or without AHAs can result in sensitive itchy red skin.  Also, when using AHAs, you’re more sensitive to the sun and more prone to burning so sunscreen is crucial! 

I hope you found this information helpful and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. 🙂

Have a good Tuesday,

Stephanie

 

Skin Tip: Simple Sugar Lip Scrub!

Treat your lips to a sweet treat this Valentine’s Day weekend with an easy scrub.  Just combine small amounts of sugar (brown sugar also works) and honey, apply the mixture on your lips and buff away dead and flaky skin.  Remove with warm water and top it off with your favorite lip balm.  The end result?  A soft, kissable pout.  Bonus: Your lip color will apply more smoothly and evenly.

Personal update:  I know I have been MIA for the last few days and I apologize but I was slammed with some kind of variation of the flu.  I’ve been battling a stubborn fever, congestion that makes my head feel it’s ready to explode and a painful ear infection. 😦 I know I have some catching up to do and comments to get back to so please bear some patience-I will get back to you. 🙂

I hope all of you have a lovely weekend and thank you for the support.

Stephanie    

Pumpkin: Skin Treat or Trick?

pumpkin

With the commence of fall in full gear and Halloween coming closer, pretty much everywhere we turn we are inundated with the sight of pumpkins and alluring scents of pumpkins laced with cinnamon and clove.  Similarly, around this time, spas often start to offer pumpkin peels.   Although yummy in pies and lattes, what makes pumpkins in skincare so special?

Enzymes!

Pumpkins contain enzymes that “eat” old, dry skin cells-think of them like a Pac-Man- revealing healthy, glowing skin. Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants vitamin C and notably vitamin A- the anti-aging superstar that minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Pumpkins are also high in beta carotene, infusing skin with vital nutrients, and zinc which purportedly reduces the appearance of inflammation associated with breakouts.

A few brands that include pumpkin in their products are Eminence, Ayurmedic, June Jacobs and Murad.

Pumpkin Peels 

Most skincare facilities offer pumpkin peels which are often formulated with glycolic, lactic and/or salicylic acid that provide the following benefits:

  • Improves skin texture
  • Targets hyper-pigmentation and acne
  • Stimulates collagen and elastin production.
  • Helps with the cell renewal process.
  • Reduces signs of aging by softening fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrates the skin

Pumpkin peels are a great way to refresh your complexion right before the holidays not to mention they smell amazing!

Love pumpkin peels or have a favorite pumpkin product?  Do share your experience!  

Stephanie

Can We Reach Pore-fection?

Aside from anti-aging, pore size seems to be a huge complaint from customers.

A study conducted by L’Oreal Paris revealed that roughly “45% of women wish they could change the size of their pores and            almost one in three women  (28%) are more concerned about  their pore size than wrinkles.”

With so many products out there that claim to shrink or eliminate your pores, how do we know what works?  Let’s take a closer look at what a pore really is.

What is a pore?

A pore is a small opening in the skin that allows oil to reach the surface.  On average, an adult has five million pores on their body with approximately 20,000 on their face alone.   Without pores, our skin would be dry and cracked since oil produced in the sebaceous glands travel up the pore to the skin’s surface and naturally moisturize the skin.

How is pore size determined?

For the most part, pore size is determined by genetics and generally speaking, is most prevalent in men.  However, oil, dirt, dead skin cells and our lifestyle can impact pore size.  For example, avid sun worshipers often see an increase in pore size because the sun’s UV rays breakdown and weaken the skin’s elasticity; the same can apply to aging skin.  Oily skin types typically have an excessive accumulation of dirt, oil and dead skin cells, leading to large, visible pores and in some cases acne.

How to minimize pore appearance

Since you can’t get ‘rid’ of pores (and really, you don’t want to as they flush out toxins and help regulate temperature) here’s a couple of suggestions to help reduce their appearance.   

  • Thoroughly cleanse skin daily
  • Regular exfoliation with either enzymes or hydroxy acids (i.e. glycolic, lactic, or salicylic)
  • Those with oily skin types can benefit from using clay-based masks (look for kaolin or bentonite) about 2x/week
  • Limit excessive sun exposure and always wear SPF
  • Make sure you are using the correct skincare products/makeup for your skin type- makeup primers can help reduce pore appearance
  • Consult with a dermatologist and/or esthetician for other options such as chemical peels
  • Avoid pore strips as in the long run can stretch out skin even more

Questions? Comments? Have a pore-minimizing product you love? Do share!

My Current Favorite Exfoliators!

Exfoliating is a great and easy way to achieve a healthy complexion and to improve texture of skin.  Here are some exfoliators that have found their way (and stayed!) in my skincare routine.

exfolikate

Sephora, $85; travel-size, $22

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

One of my favorite products that I find myself repurchasing every so often, this exfoliant is truly intense.  As soon as you apply it, you immediately feel a tingly sensation and can feel your blood circulating thanks to the cinnamon, acids and enzymes found in here.  I definitely have a glow after using it and my complexion feels (and looks) super soft.  I tend to pick up the travel sized version of this at Sephora since it’s more wallet friendly and the tube lasts a good 3-4 months.

*For sensitive skin, there is Kate Somerville Exfolikate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment

daily micro

Ulta, $52

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

I was introduced to this product in esthetic school and while it took me a while to warm up to it, once I learned how to correctly use it, I love it.  First of all, this product is a rice-based powder that requires water to activate.  You dispense a little bit of product onto wet hands and rub them together to form what becomes a creamy paste.  Once you create the paste, you massage it over your face, leave it on for about a minute or so, and then rinse off.   What’s great about this gentle but effective scrub is that you can mix it in with your cleanser to get that ‘deep’ clean feel.

Note* Although the name says Daily Microfoliant, I would use this no more than 3x per day as it can be too drying.  Also, don’t leave this in your shower as you can end up with a clumpy mess.

bha serum

reneerouleau.com, $46.50

 

Renee Rouleau BHA Clarifying Serum, $46.50

A new favorite that has found its way into my skincare routine, this exfoliating serum is especially great if you have textural concerns.  I tend to get little whiteheads all over my forehead and this blend of lactic, salicylic and glycolic acid  has significantly reduced them-people have actually noticed the smoother complexion!  I stopped using it for a few weeks only to have the whiteheads develop again, so I know this particular product is what is making a difference.  Unlike the other exfoliants featured here, this one is unique in that you leave it on overnight.

gentle exfol

PCA Skin Representative/Dermstore.com, $25

PCA Skin Gentle Scrub, $25

If you have normal to dry skin and want something that is fragrance free, this would be an apt choice.  Round beads that are suspended in a creamy base of aloe vera leaf juice, glycolic acid and jojoba seed oil gently polish away dead skin cells.  Bonus:  The bottle is 7 oz.

What is your favorite exfoliator? 

 

Father’s Day Skincare Gift Ideas!

Men’s skincare is too often overlooked but can make a world of a difference-and a great Father’s Day present!  So weather you’re still looking for gift options or you’re a guy who wants to step up his skin health, take a glance at some of the options below!

 

JackBlack

$52; sephora.com; getjackblack.com

Jack Black Core Collection

I’ve purchased and gifted this set several times and it always seems to be a crowd-pleaser.  This trio includes a facial cleanser, shaving lotion and face moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 20.  It’s fragrance and alcohol free and perfect for men who want a simplified routine.

dermalogica

$38, ulta.com

Dermalogica Shave System

This shaving kit includes two shaving creams (Pre-Shave Guard and Soothing Shave Cream) which can be used alone or together to help soften the beard. Other items included in this kit are Daily Clean Scrub, an exfoliating cleanser which helps minimize ingrown hairs;  Post-Shave Balm, which helps control oil and reduces redness that can occur after shaving; and Daily Defense Block SPF 15 is a matte sunscreen.

PCA Skin

$22, dermstore.com/ PCA Skin Representative

PCA Skin Total Face Wash Face & Body Cleanser

A 2-in-1 product for men on the go!  This gentle foaming cleanser is formulated with lactic acid to exfoliate, moisturize, and help prevent ingrown hairs and also doubles as a body wash in one easy step.  Antioxidant vitamin E improves the barrier function of the skin; soothing aloe, allantoin, and  bisabolol help to calm skin; and tea tree oil provides antiseptic properties.

AL

$48, sephora.com; $56 ulta.com

Anthony Logistics For Men The Essential Traveler Kit

This kit features an array of products that are perfect for those who travel or for those who want to get a feel for the products.  The Glycolic Facial Cleanser exfoliates and loosens dead skin cells to achieve a closer shave; the Shave Cream calms the skin and includes anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects; All Purpose Facial Moisturizer contains antioxidants vitamin C to brighten skin and vitamin E to help nourish skin; Invigorating Rush Hair + Body Wash incorporates Pro Vitamin B5 which promotes tissue healing in skin and helps to retain moisture ; Advanced Formula Lip Balm SPF 25 Mint and White Tea soothes, protects and conditions lips.

 

AOS Block

$20, sephora.com; theartofshaving.com

The Art Of Shaving Alum Block- Unscented

If you’re prone to nicks and cuts, this may be a product to check out.  The alum block helps stop bleeding from minor cuts and delivers antiseptic properties.

Have you tried any of these products?  What did you think of them? 

I am always looking for and researching new lines so if you have a skincare line you use and love, do share!  

What the Milia?

milia

If you’ve ever examined your skin and noticed tiny, white hard bumps that resemble sesame seeds, most likely you have a skin anomaly known as milia.  No need to panic though. Milia aren’t harmful, they’re just more of a complexion nuisance, and boy, are they stubborn!

Milia are usually found around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead and occur when oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin.  Although they resemble whiteheads, milia won’t go away easily because they don’t have an escape route, meaning they’re not in the pores but rather ‘stuck’ under the outer layer of your skin. Therefore, trying to extract them yourself is NOT recommended since you can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.

So what options are available?

First, let’s examine the common culprits. Milia can be genetic and can also be caused by using too-rich ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and isopropyl myristate.  If milia are prevalent around the eye area, make sure your eye cream and/or makeup remover is free from these ingredients.

Now, on to the treatment.  Thoroughly cleansing your face at night (read: more than just splashing your face with water) can help keep them from forming.  Mild exfoliation (enzymes are great for this!) and using a serum or cream with either hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, or salicylic) or retinol can also help.  If this solution doesn’t work (and frustratingly, it often doesn’t) or you want faster results, visit a dermatologist or esthetician where they can remove milia with a lancet.

Do you have milia? What treatment worked best for you?