Let's Talk Skincare!
Published Feb 08 2023 in beauty, beauty tips, kerosene deluxe, selfcare, skincare, wellness
A little while ago Diane and I were driving around post-photoshoot when she brought up some skin woes. Suddenly I’m going on a rambling tangent about skincare before pausing to say ‘Did you know I was a skincare specialist for well over a decade?’
You learn something new about each other every day!
And indeed, prior to joining Team Cherry I worked in spas and boutiques assisting people with all kinds of skincare needs.
I’ll preface by saying I’m not a licensed doctor, so please do see a proper dermatologist if you have a serious persisting concern. But if you are looking for some tips to get your skin glowing or find yourself overwhelmed with the abundance of products out there this post might just be for you!
Let’s start with determining your skin type first.
DRY SKIN: Skin might feel tight and appear scaly. Sometimes red and irritated. It can be prone to eczema or dermatitis.
Dehydrated skin often gets mistaken for dry skin, but both are different and require separate treatments. Dry skin is a skin type vs dehydrated skin which is a skin condition that can affect any skin type (even oily)
A dry skin type tends to lack oil/lipids vs dehydrated skin which is lacking in water.
If your skin is looking dull, feeling itchy, your dark circles are looking a little extra rough and fine lines appear a bit deeper than usual then you’ve got yourself some dehydrated skin. This commonly happens during colder climates, when the skin barrier gets damaged, lack of water intake, and even stress.
How to treat: Both dry OR dehydrated skin benefits greatly from Hyaluronic Acid, preferably in the form of a serum. Hyaluronic Acid is a substance naturally found in the skin. (so nothing scary to worry about) it has the ability to latch onto water and plump these compounds. For example, a teaspoon of Hyaluronic Acid can hold 1.5 gallons of water! Picture if you will a raisin being plumped back into a juicy grape. Pretty cool right?
Hyaluronic Acid can benefit any skin type and should ideally be used right after washing your face when your skin is still a little damp. It can be used both day and night.
Moisturizer: For dry skin look for emollient-rich moisturizers. Nut oils (jojoba, hemp, almond) work great as well as moisturizers containing ceramides. If your skin is dry and feels irritated stay away from heavily fragranced lotions and look for soothing ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal. Dehydrated skin can benefit from oil or gel-based moisturizers. This is up to your preference.
Make sure to exfoliate the skin approximately twice a week with either a chemical exfoliant (glycolic acid, AHA, or BHA) or a gentle physical exfoliant (but do make sure the scrubby bits are perfectly spherical to avoid micro-tears. Please for all things holy and sacred AVOID St Yves, sugar, crushed nut-based scrubs or rough towels, etc on your face. I’m begging you!
OILY SKIN: This skin type tends to produce a bit more sebum (natural oils). You tend to be shinier in the face and might be prone to breakouts due to the sebum mixing with dead skin cells and getting trapped in the pores. You can’t necessarily get rid of oily skin but you can certainly take steps to get it under control.
How to Treat: It’s a myth that oily skin does not need moisturizer. It sure does! Just look for an oil-free, gel-based moisturizer that is non-comedogenic. Aloe Vera and Snail Mucin (yes you read that right) are great soothing ingredients to look for.
Wash your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser followed by a toner containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or BHA if you are acne prone. You can get pre-soaked pads for easy usage.
Do not scrub the skin or be rough with it as this could cause the skin to produce more oil. This is a natural defense to protect the skin barrier, so be gentle.
NORMAL/COMBINATION SKIN: This skin is overall pretty happy. It might get a little oilier in the T-Zone. The key here is trying to find balance in the skin.
How to Treat: Use a gentle cleanser such as CeraVe or Cetaphil. If you use makeup or sunscreen it’s recommended to cleanse the skin twice (known as double-cleansing). The first round should be with a cleansing balm or oil, this breaks down makeup. Follow with a gel cleanser to remove any impurities.
Follow with a gentle BHA toner and antioxidant-rich serum and gel moisturizer.
You can use a clay mask on the oilier t-zone once or twice a week if needed. I am this skin type myself and will sometimes use a hydrating mark on the dry areas and a clay mask on the oilier parts.
A BASIC SUMMARY:
Cleanse using a gentle, preferably fragrance-free cleanser. Don’t splurge on expensive cleansers. No one needs to spend $30 on something you wash off your face within 60 seconds. CeraVe or Cetaphil are great options here. Your skin should be cleansed twice in the evening. If you wear makeup the first round with a cleansing balm or oil to break down the product, and the second round with your gel cleanser.
Exfoliation is an important part of any skincare routine. Removing dead skin cells is vital for glowing, radiant skin and allows for optimal absorption of your serums and moisturizers. If you do not exfoliate your products will have a harder time penetrating the skin, which prevents them from doing their job. Our skin cell turnover slows down with age, so it's important to give it a little hand. Twice a week is plenty. Don't overdo it.
You may use a chemical/liquid exfoliant (Glycolic Acid, BHA, AHA) or a physical exfoliant (better known as a scrub) but make sure the beads are perfectly spherical. Sugars, coffee, scrub cloths and ground-up seeds (walnut scrubs etc) should never be used on the face. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and LaRoche Posay’s Ultra Fine facial Scrub are good examples of safe options. If you have active acne opt for chemical exfoliants.
Serums are more concentrated than moisturizers and therefore the best at targeting specific concerns such as aging.
Truthfully many products promising more youthful skin are not completely truthful or effective long-term. Retinol (Vitamin A) is one of the few ingredients proven to work against signs of aging. Retinol should be used at night only and not combined with a chemical exfoliant prior (use one or the other), it’s important to gradually build up a tolerance to this particular ingredient to avoid skin reactions. I’d recommend using this serum 3 to 4x a week. Vitamin C or Hyaluronic Acid based serums are great for glowing and healthy-looking skin all day, I love these in the AM!
Sunscreen is vital whether it is sunny out or not. It’s one of if not THE most important step in your skincare routine. It should be used by all skin types and there are various kinds out there to suit everyone so you don’t have to worry about that weird white cast or thick greasy feeling. If you are out in the sun your sunscreen must be reapplied every 2 hours! I personally keep the Derma-E SPF30 Sun Protection Mineral Powder in my purse for easy touch-ups that won't disturb my makeup.
Some of the best skincare is found at drug stores. Look for the ‘Derm’ brands. These are formulated with science, medicinal ingredients and with the help of dermatologists. This is why in Canada they tend to only be sold where pharmacists are present. Examples include (but are not limited to): LaRoche Posay, Bioderma, Vichy and NeoStrata.
Just because a brand is heinously expensive, advertised everywhere or celebrity endorsed doesn't make it the best, so don’t be swayed by those who paid the most for ads or the 'celebrity stamp of approval'.
Remember that the rich and famous have a whole team around them ensuring they look their best 24/7. From private chefs, aestheticians, and personal trainers to plastic surgeons and make-up artists. It’s not realistic to hold yourself to such a standard.
You’ll experience trials and errors in finding what works for you, but I recommend sticking to your new routine for at least 4 weeks (unless you severely react to your new products, in which case stop using it immediately). Skin can sometimes do a 'purge' when you are new to Vitamin C or Retinol, this will clear so don't worry, but maybe don't start a new regime right before an important event.
Things will not happen overnight, so be patient, stick to it, and don’t forget to rest and drink water. Skincare is part of healthcare and you deserve to feel your best.
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