i hate scrubs. this is why.
This is the post I’ve been dying to write. Finally, my truth comes out…
I hate scrubs.
Exfoliation is incredibly important in your skincare routine. But it is the step that you must get just right. Many exfoliators on the market are harsh and overly aggressive. Scrubs are, in my opinion, the worst. There are gentler, more effective options.
Exfoliation using a textured product is called manual or physical exfoliation. This kind of exfoliation really only removes skin cells that have already died but are still on the surface of the skin. Many physical exfoliants use particles such as apricot kernels, walnut seed, or salt with jagged, sharp edges that cause microscopic damage in the skin. In addition to being overly abrasive, it can often also be uneven as well.
Exfoliation that uses acids or enzymes is called chemical exfoliation. This may sound scary, but in actuality, they can be significantly gentler. The enzymes and acids dissolve the dead skin cells away, as well as taking the uppermost layer of living skin cells that are about ready to go. In doing this, you send a message to the lower levels of the skin to stimulate more cell production. These chemical exfoliants are often formulated with hydrating and nourishing ingredients, so you can exfoliate and nourish your skin in one easy step.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. If I use or recommend a scrub, it usually incorporates a blend of chemical (fruit enzymes or AHAs) as well as manual exfoliation. In this case, you’re getting all of the benefits of each kind. The caveat? Be certain that the particles that make up the scrub are perfectly rounded with no rough edges so as not to overabrade your skin.
Chemical exfoliation is, in my opinion, a great way to get multiple benefits in one product. You exfoliate, smooth texture, hydrate (if you pick a good one), stimulate cell turnover, and get better benefits from all your other products. And who doesn’t want more benefits in one product?
flip through any magazine and you’ll see ad after ad of products that will reduce fine lines and stimulate collagen production. but, is a fine line really your greatest concern when it comes to looking younger?
I feel like I’ve heard it all when it comes to anti-aging. It’s often my clients’ number one concern, even if they’re just 25. I’ve seen every manner of claim from skincare products and marketing companies. But, in my opinion, most anti-aging products miss the mark…and not because they make claims that may or may not be true.
There are many factors that contribute to a more “seasoned” appearance. In my mind, many of these concerns are often overlooked when people shop for an anti-aging product. If you don’t address all of the factors that make you look older than your age (or, maybe just not younger than your age), you will still look older!
The texture of your skin is the number one reason that people look older to my esthetic eye. It’s the first thing I notice when I assess a client’s skin. Does the texture appear rough? Uneven? The good news is that this is the easiest problem to fix! Look for an exfoliating mask with glycolic or lactic acid that you can use 2-3 times per week, or a serum with the same ingredients, but in a lower percentage that you can use daily. Another option, depending on the extent of the texture and other concerns, may be retinoic acid. Retin-A can only be prescribed by your dermatologist, so be sure to use it according to his or her direction. Retinol is a lower percentage of the same ingredient and can be found over-the-counter. Retinoic acid can often cause irritation, so be sure to minimize your usage if you experience redness, flaking, or sensitivity.
Ah, the concern that is near and dear to my own heart! People often think my freckles are cute, but to me, they are merging together into large brown spots and muddling my complexion. Research has shown that people will guess that someone who has uneven color to their skin is older than someone who has more fine lines! With this tidbit of information, I feel that every single person of every single color should have some form of pigment control in their arsenal, starting the minute that you begin a skincare routine. This can come in the form of a vitamin C serum (look for ascorbic acid or tetrahexadecyl ascorbate- my favorite form) or in a botanical brightener (try ingredients like arbutin, mulberry extract, or bearberry extract, to name a few). If pigmentation is already a concern for you, use one of each!
Ruddiness is diffuse redness that is always present. This is often a sign of advanced sun damage, and often comes coupled with pigmentation. Here, look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like vitamin C (yes, again), aloe, green or white tea, and azulene. Make sure that your routine is gentle, using enzyme peels instead of scrubs, which can aggravate redness.
The true secret to having better, younger looking skin is targeting your routine to address specific concerns. Anti-aging products cover a broad range of concerns, so try targeting your concern with a serum and hopefully you will see better results. Fine lines may not be your biggest worry!
is winter wreaking havoc on your skin?
We are two major snowstorms into winter and suffering from massively cold weather on the East Coast, and my skin has been feeling the hurt. The freezing, icy wind is blistering my cheeks and my apartment provides no relief, with dry heat that is stripping moisture out of my skin, making my complexion dull and my eczema flair. If you’re in a similar position with your skin, here are my tips to cope.
• Don’t be afraid to moisturize. Look for creamier, more emollient moisturizers. Some key ingredients to look for are glycerin, shea butter, and natural oils like jojoba or sunflower oil. Moisturizers that leave a little barrier on the surface skin (often called occlusive moisturizers by pros) are best for being out in the elements because it will protect from wind and cold. Avoid ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin.
• Use a Vitamin C serum to repair and rebuild weather-damaged skin. Vitamin C is anti-• inflammatory, which will help to calm redness and irritation caused by aggressive weather. Look for ingredients like L-ascorbic acid or Vitamin C Ester. Use it in the morning for extra antioxidant protection.
• Keep exfoliating, but make it gentle. Dry, dead skin cells can accumulate on the surface of the skin, leading to uneven texture and making it more difficult for your moisturizer to penetrate. Stick with exfoliating masks using lactic acid or fruit enzymes, which both exfoliate and hydrate at the same time. Your best-case scenario product also has plenty of antioxidants as well.
• Try a mask for an extra punch. Moisturizing masks can provide a boost in moisture levels and extra skin soothing ingredients to calm irritated, parched skin. Try one right after your shower to seal the extra hydration into your skin.
• Remember your sunscreen. Yes, you still need it. As long as there is light, you need to wear sun protection. Try a sunscreen with zinc oxide for the added benefits of skin soothing and redness reducing.
• Eat more guacamole. [Tweet this!] Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and can help to moisturize your skin from the inside. Plus, it’s tasty.
Hopefully, a few tips to tweak your routine will help you survive the remaining winter days. We can all count down to spring together.
how much water do you have to drink to hydrate your skin?
I often hear clients sheepishly tell me that they are dry because they haven’t been drinking their water. Fortunately, from your skin’s perspective, that old 64-ounce-a-day rule doesn’t really apply.
The first and most important reason is a matter of definition. Hydration refers to the water content of the skin, while moisture indicates oil content. Dry skin is lacking oil, and since, just like in salad dressing, oil and water don’t mix, you can’t moisturize your skin by applying or drinking water. [Tweet this!]
Another problem with trying to hydrate your skin internally is simply the fact that it’s virtually impossible to take in enough water to significantly increase water content of the skin. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to take in enough of any single nutrient to see a specific benefit on the skin. Your body works on an emergent basis, meaning that it prioritizes your vital organs over your skin. Although you want your skin to look great, your body doesn’t so much care as long as the skin isn’t broken. So it sends all that hydration (or other nutrients) to your stomach, your heart, your lungs, or your brain. But don’t misunderstand this statement… your skin is absolutely affected by your diet. It’s just affected in more general ways, such as in the glow or the clarity of the skin. Drinking water can help a lot in these areas, especially if you’re drinking water instead of a high calorie sugary beverage!
Finally, the most glaring inaccuracy of this myth is that we don’t actually need to drink 64 ounces of water in order to be adequately hydrated. Any nutritionist will tell you that we get most of the water we need from fruits and veggies, so those of us that eat lots of those probably don’t need to drink a lot of water on top of that. Even coffee doesn’t dehydrate the way most people think it does. For more, I’ll refer you to my go-to nutrition source, the Nutrition Diva, who discusses this in more scientific detail.
So, now how to hydrate your skin, if not by drinking water? A few tips:
• Serums that have a watery texture and use ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid, glycerin or aloe can be great for leaving a little water in the skin. Make sure to layer this under a skin-type appropriate moisturizer in order to seal that hydration into the skin.
• Spritz an alcohol-free toner on before you moisturize. This is the only purpose to a toner, in my opinion. It leaves the skin damp, and the moisturizer can again lock it in.
• Rosewater, inexpensive and easy to find at most health food stores, is perfect for this.
If you’re oilier, use an light-weight moisturizer that has some of the above listed ingredients in it. Avoid mineral oil.
Remember that you can be oily and dehydrated, as well as dry and dehydrated. Hydration is a skin condition, not a skin type. Most people benefit from more hydration. Hydrated skin is fuller, plumper, and softer. So spritz on that toner and stop beating yourself up for not getting a full two liters of water every day.