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Part 3. Cleansing & Exfoliation

Ok- glad you're still with us.  Now for the actual steps!

Skincare Routine Categories: Cleansing

The two overarching facets of your beauty routine should consist of cleansing and restoring (Part 4). There are three parts to cleansing:

Clean thoroughly and always be gentle!

 1. Remove Make-up.  Products are oil based, water based or cream based. Lip and eye removers are recommended if you use a lot of color cosmetics like mascara or lipstick or foundation that are hard to remove. You also have melting removers and oil based removers infused with active ingredients. The idea here is that oil removes oil.

2. Wash your face. Use lukewarm, running water. Wash morning and night, and if you work out during the day, make sure you wash after you sweat! Choose a gentle wash whether foam cleansers, milk cleansers that are recommended for drier skinned beauties or non-foaming cleansers.  If you are targeting acne, I recommend looking for salicylic acid in your wash and/or cleansers that help balance your skin pH. If you are washing at night, make sure you remove the SPF and make-up thoroughly. Make-up wipes do not count! They have their purpose but should not substitute washing your face.

3.Deep Cleansing (Exfoliation). Exfoliation is the idea of removing dead skin cells which is key for deep cleansing and reducing the appearance of dull skin.  There are three different ways we can approach the process:

 A. Physical friction: the idea of using friction to remove dull skin by using a scrub with micro-beads, a gommage, brushes, etc.  (Think buffering, like sandpaper.) For scrubs, I advise using the smallest, roundest beads possible as there are many scrubs containing sharp, coarse and uneven ingredients that will cause small tears that are not visible to the eye but are damaging. Gommage is a drying paste that also uses friction to remove dead skin cells. There are many types of brushes from mechanical to manual, but the idea here is to be as GENTLE as possible, as these methods can often be abrasive.

B. Chemical method: (AHAs, BHAs, glycolic acids):  the idea of dissolving dead skin cells, so that the softer, younger-looking skin underneath is revealed. The advantages of this type of exfoliating is that it will unclog your pores. If your main focus is on the skin’s surface (and you don’t suffer from sensitive skin, redness or blocked pores), an AHA exfoliant is a good choice if you are exfoliating as a part of the deep cleansing process. BHA and glycolic acid are often contained in products meant to be used during your routine as daily exfoliators.  For example, you may have AHA in your face wash or in your creams. Sensitive-skinned beauties can avoid using them as frequently. In fact, if you are extremely sensitive, I would avoid chemical exfoliators altogether as certain AHAs and BHAs can be powerful and cause irritation and weaken the skin barrier. I like to use spot treatments with salicylic acid (a BHA) to treat blackheads as well as the occasional pimple/ acne.

C. Biological method: similar to the way chemical exfoliants work except enzymes break down protein to remove dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin underneath.  This is personally my favorite way of exfoliating as it’s the most natural way to break down dead skin cells and most recommended for sensitive skinned beauties.  However, this is also the most difficult method to handle at home and therefore less available on the market, as the effectiveness is temperamental and easily affected by the environment, pH balance, temperature, exposure to sunlight and the method in which it works.  While best applied by an esthetician, the trick is to use a powder with a brush for the enzyme powder to lather the right amount (only a small amount is needed and even less water to lather correctly.) Then, allow steam to settle and give the enzyme time to work.  I recommend doing this in the shower. Alternatively, you can use a warm cloth/towel to put over your face.  After everything has dissolved, wash off with lukewarm water.  

How often should you exfoliate?

Generally, the rule of thumb is to deep cleanse one to three times a week.  Exfoliating properly will really give you that glow.  There are exfoliating pads and leave on exfoliating products meant to be used as part of your daily routine, but please use these with care.  If you have dry, sensitive skin, less will be more for you, as long as you can be consistent. Taking time to experiment is key so you know what works for you. Those with oily or acne-prone skin may benefit from exfoliating more often, and if you have mature skin, regular, routine deep cleansing should suffice. 

Pro Tip: Try using Mask Moments on the days that you exfoliate. The combination of deep cleansing and restoration will give you that ultimate glasskin glow! Get on a Mask Moments subscription plan to help you stay consistent with both exfoliation and restoration/ replenishing.

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Part 2. Am I Choosing the Right Products for My Skin Type?

Are You Identifying Your Unique Skin Type Correctly? 

The most traditional way of thinking of skin types are: Oily, Dry, Normal and Combination skin. What’s misleading about these categories, however, is that by thinking you have “oily” skin, you focus your entire regime to stripping oils, forgetting that you actually need hydration just as much as the dry skinned folks.  What’s worse is people who are acne prone automatically assume they have oily skin and over-irritate their skin, which then causes your skin to produce MORE oil because it’s compensating for the loss.  This is a very common mistake! Remember that ALL skin goes through the skin cycle from drier phases to oilier phases with different needs throughout the cycle. Yes, you may have oily skin, but your skin will need just as much restoration and hydration. Remember that it’s about finding the right oil/water balance for skin.  Moreover, all of our skins will lose moisture as we age, so everyone needs hydration- not just people with dry skin! 

Lastly, estheticians divide the skin regions by the T-zone (your forehead and nose), the U-zone (your cheeks and face up to the neck line) and the décolletage/ neck area. Combination skin suggests that one of these zones is different from the other.  For example, you might have an oily T-zone but a drier U-zone. Identifying these zones is more complex than it appears and having vastly different patches on your face suggests you may be doing something incorrectly. The best way to gauge is really by the size, shape and evenness of your pores, which is not always accurate to the naked eye. As an esthetician, I like to treat each of these areas differently, but most people don’t go into that level of detail for home beauty. 

What About People with Sensitive Skin?

This requires a whole other blog piece. The short answer is that a) everyone should be treating their skin as gently as possible and b) everyone needs to treat inflammation! Take note of the kind of allergens you react to and if your skin is showing irritation to helpful ingredients like retinol or vitamin C, you can build up to working them into your routine slowly, over time, in small increments. If you have a chronic skin condition, consult your dermatologist. As you experiment, always have a Mask Moments handy, as these masks will help relieve redness and sensitivities and soothe away irritations. 

So Now What? What’s the Best Approach for Choosing the Products for My Skincare Routine?

Instead of thinking of your skin as oily/dry/combination skin, choose targeted skin goals for yourself to build your routine. For example, you may want to target redness, uneven skin tone, blackheads, flaky skin, acne, dry skin, wrinkle prevention, firmness, etc.  Once you have products that target these skin concerns, build the rest of your around these goals. On top of your targeted goals, make sure your overall skin routine includes anti-aging and anti-inflammation goals as well. Choose the products that address these concerns and stick to it for a minimum of 30 days- give it your whole skin cycle. Change takes patience, consistency and discipline - a routine that you stick to! Results will be worth the investment! Join us on our Facebook Page (or request to be added to our private Facebook Group) and share your journey with us!

And instead of putting masking off for special occasions, build Mask Moments into your routine regularly to address inflammation and restoration. This will be the best skincare decision you make and your actions and choices WILL pay off! 

Try it for $1 today 



  Part 1: What Causes Aging?

*Warning: Written for #skinnerds. If you just want to skip to the actual steps for the routine, see Parts 3 & 4 - coming soon!

One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to skincare is- what’s the perfect beauty routine?  Even with a TON of info out on social media, people ask this over and over, because it’s actually more complicated than just simple rules and steps that work for all. There’s context, personal preferences, exceptions, varying skin needs and goals and varying expert advice. Read on for some background and understanding which will help you sort through the sea of info, and you can decide what applies to you. 

The Home Beauty Routine is Based on Professional Skincare Facials 

If you’ve gotten a professional facial from an esthetician before, you might recognize that the home beauty skincare routines are basically the breakdown of each step in these facials conducted at home to promote optimal skin health. (If you’re curious as to what professional facials are typically like, here’s one review of a facial done at Aesop.) Remember that the role of the dermatologist is different from licensed beauty specialists. Generally, derms will have a more clinical focus (think skin cancer, burns, and medical conditions) while estheticians will focus more on appearance, preventative, preemptive and holistic care. Then there are the cosmetic surgeons and medical aestheticians (fillers, liposuction, botox injections, etc.) and specialists that stride in between. Understanding these distinctions is important in discerning through the sometimes clashing sea of confusing info on the Internet, as experts can approach the subject from varying perspectives. 💡 

Keep in Mind

Remember that beauty is personal and everyone is different. While there are universal guidelines, there’s no ONE perfect routine to suit all.  Knowing your skin and having skin goals will help shape the routine that’s right for you. It will take observation and patience. Also, keep in mind that your skin changes and that you may want to alter your routine over time.

So How Do Home Beauty/Skincare Routines Work?

Your skin has a cycle that’s about a month long. This cycle is the process of new skin cells forming and moving up through the layers of your skin that then become dead skin cells at the top layer.  By removing the dead skin cells, we speed up the process as new skin appears beneath, making our skin look fresh and dewy. As we age, this process can slow down. The skincare routine is all about prevention, protection and promoting cell turnover. All the steps break down into two overarching actions: cleansing and replenishing.

What Happens When We Age?

Did you know that only 10% of aging is intrinsic, meaning the natural process of aging and your genetic disposition, while 90% is extrinsic aging?  That means the environment, lifestyle choices and external factors attribute to the rest. Translation: it can be prevented and slowed!! 

When we age, the biochemical changes that happen include losing tensile strength from loss of collagen, and elastic production, and  lipid production. The skin also loses the ability to bind water, causing the skin to be more dehydrated and the slowing of blood flow also makes the delivery of nutrition to the cells less efficient. There’s less energy for repairing DNA damage, and slower cell turnover as well as impaired immune function. Your skin becomes dry, the skin barrier function is weakened, and you form aging cells. These all lead to visible physical changes like wrinkles, sagging, loss of fat, and loss of firmness and tension, which leads to more wrinkles, rougher texture and thinning or thickening of the skin. Not to mention discoloration, dark spots, and uneven skin tone, making the skin look dull or lackluster.  Dilated capillaries cause redness, and your skin becomes more prone to inflammation.

So What Causes Aging Skin?   

The culprits include: Free radicals, DNA repair, inflammation, glycation & cross-linking, mitochondria (energy production), cellular garbage, telomeres, genetic clock, wear & tear, hormones, stress, smoke, alcohol. There's no ONE reason, as it's a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors that play a role, so we must be diligent about building a preventative system of anti-aging care at a holistic level. In other words, we need an effective age-fighting systemic plan to tackle the different mechanisms of aging. This means maintaining a healthy lifestyle, drinking plenty of water, getting sound sleep, regular exercise, balanced nutrition and managing stress on TOP of a strong skincare routine filled with beauty products that target skin-aging agents.  (Read about the types of ingredients to look for in your skincare regimen.)

Fight aging by building masking into your regular beauty routine. Remember aging can be slowed and prevented by preemptive protection and prevention!  Signing up for Mask Moments is one of the best decisions you’ll make in your skincare routine!

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