What I’m Loving Now: Deep Moisture for Dry Skin

Colder temperatures make me crave creamier moisturizers. But finding a moisturizer that’s got enough weight to get the deep moisture that you need and not clog your skin up can often be a challenge. Here are a few of my winter favorites for dry skin.

Nia24 Intensive Recovery Complex

I’ve been trying out some new products recently, and the Nia24 Intensive Recovery Complex has really captured my heart. Quick absorbing but still deeply moisturizing, this cream gives long-term moisture. Nia24 boasts a form of niacin that penetrates deeper into the skin, so in addition to rich moisture, you also get brighter, healthier skin in the long run. The Pro-Niacin complex also helps to thicken the top layers of the skin, giving you a heartier, more resilient complexion.

 

Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals Cloud 9

The intensely moisturizing Sircuit Skin Cloud 9+ cream has been one of my standbys for my own dry skin the last few years. It leaves a protective barrier on to defend your skin against the elements. It also features antioxidants and other botanical ingredients to protect against aging and restore at the same time.

 

 

 

Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Replenishing Cream

I’ve always liked many of the products in the Philosophy skin care line. For many years, this moisturizer, the Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough replenishing cream. It has a buttery texture that melts into skin, protecting dry, chapped skin from the elements and restoring suppleness.

 

 

Korres Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream

One of my favorite moisturizers, the Korres Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream, recently got a texture makeover, and is now richer and even more moisturizing. It still has a light, whipped texture, so it’s a great cream for people who are on the oilier side of the skin type spectrum. The yoghurt in the cream is reparative and soothing, so that makes this particular product a great choice for irritated or inflamed skin, such as skin types that suffer from eczema or psoriasis.

 
Boscia Tsubaki Beauty OilFacial oils are all the rage, and it’s one of my favorite ways to tweak a skin care routine that’s just not quite enough moisture for dry skin. You don’t need to purchase an entirely new routine; just amp up your current moisture by layering an oil under your favorite lighter summer ones. Your skin absorbs layers better, so using several light products may actually work best for you. My current favorite oil is the Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil, which has a lovely light texture and tons of antioxidants for brightening and extra protection.

 

 

Have you tried any of my winter favorites? What products do you rely on when temperatures drop? Tell me in the comments below!

 

See a product here that you think would work for you? I earn a commission and you help to support this blog if you use the affiliate links provided. But your trust is important to me, and I’d never recommend something that I haven’t used or didn’t like. Read my disclaimer.

How To Pick the Best Sunscreen

how to pick the best sunscreenIt’s that time of year. The sun is shining. The weather is warm. Who doesn’t want to be outside? But being outside more means that you need to up your sunscreen protection. And who hasn’t stood in the sunscreen aisle at the store and been completely overwhelmed with the options? How do you find the best one?

The first decision I make is based on the sunscreen ingredients. There are two kinds of sunscreen ingredients: inorganic sunscreens, or mineral filters, and organic sunscreens, or chemical filters. Don’t let the inorganic or organic labels confuse you. Mineral filters are generally considered the “natural” sunscreen, because the minerals occur in nature. Both types of sunscreen ingredients protect from UVA and UVB damage, but they do it in completely different ways. Mineral sunscreens (inorganic) work by deflecting UV rays away from the skin, essentially acting as a mini-mirror. Chemical filters (organic) work by absorbing the UV rays and neutralizing them before they can hit the living layers of the skin and cause damage.

Although both types of sunscreens are approved by the FDA, there are pros and cons to each.

Chemical filters

Chemical filters work by neutralizing UV damage in the very uppermost layers of the skin (the stratum corneum). Chemical sunscreens have had the most controversy in the last few years. Originally they were the most effective forms of protection. Now, we know that they are more likely to cause adverse reactions and allergies in reactive skin types. Although we don’t always know why sunscreens cause allergic reactions, there is some speculation that, because chemical sunscreens release small amounts of heat as they neutralize UV rays, more reactive skin types might be overstimulated by this and more likely to react.

These seem like overwhelming negatives, so why would you choose a chemical sunscreen? The simplest answer is that even with all the negatives, they are still effective at protecting the skin. They are easier to formulate with and can be used for lightweight products. They are easy to apply and do not feel as greasy. They also do not create the blue tint on deeper skin tones that mineral sunscreens can cause. If your preferences lie in formulation, you may prefer a chemical sunscreen.

Mineral sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens use the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are typically less likely to cause reactions because they lay on the surface of the skin instead of penetrating to the deeper layers, making them inert. Additionally, zinc oxide is a known anti-inflammatory and can soothe irritated skin.

Mineral sunscreens are reflective, and I believe they provide better protection against pigmentation. UV rays are deflected before they have a chance to cause damage.

Unfortunately, with mineral sunscreens, formulations generally turn out thicker and creamier. If you are a dry skin type, this may be fine for you. But oily and acne prone types may find it difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is lightweight. Darker skin tones may also have complaints; mineral sunscreens are famous for leaving a blue, ashy cast. Because the minerals are white, they can be difficult to blend.

Here’s a breakdown of what skin type may prefer which kind of sunscreen ingredient:
[column-group]
[column]Chemical Sunscreens
Oily skin types
Acne prone skin types
Deeper skin tones
People who prefer lighter textures
[/column]
[column]Mineral Sunscreen
Dry skin types
Reactive or allergic skin types
Pigmented skin tones
People who prefer natural ingredients
People who like creamier textures
Children
[/column]
[/column-group]

After you’ve decided which ingredients are right for you, you’ll need to pick your number. SPFs go up to 100 these days, but an SPF of 30 is 97% effective when used correctly. Keep in mind that higher SPFs require a higher chemical load, as it becomes more difficult to formulate high SPFs with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Allergic or sensitive types may find it difficult to use sunscreens with high SPFs for this reason.

Which one is right for you?

Now the million dollar question: which sunscreen is right for you?

My preference is to use a strictly mineral sunscreen, but it may be difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is only mineral. Many formulations that use a mostly mineral sunscreen may still include some chemical filters simply because it keeps the product lighter. Often I will layer my sunscreens and use a mineral powder on top to get as much protection as possible while still keeping textures light.

Ultimately, the most important step in sunscreen is the application part, so make sure to buy one that you will use. The sunscreen that protects you best is the one that is on your skin, not in the drawer. [Tweet this!]

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you pick a sunscreen? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

5 Foods for Gorgeous Skin

Today Sabrina, who blogs at BESskincare.com, is guest posting. Enjoy!
Oh food. The sustenance of body, the middle-ground for socializing, the tastiest darn past-time.

Food is important for so many reasons. Obviously it fuels our energy and is as essential as oxygen and water, but its effects reach further than that. Eating certain types of food can influence your hair, your skin and your general being.

As a little girl I was always concerned with my appearance. If one single hair was out-of-place, I would make my babysitter or mother re-do it for me. Not much has changed since then. While my parents laugh at me and joke about my vanity, I can’t disagree with them. Yes, I’m a little vain, but what’s wrong with that? I take pride in taking care of my body and part of that means watching what I eat.

You’re probably assuming I mean my weight, when I say “watch what I eat.” I’m more concerned about my skin though. I am only 26 years young, but I am fully aware that the foods I put in my body will help determine how my skin looks now and in the future. When I’m 40, I wanna look this age, and I don’t see why that’s not possible!

For glowing, ageless skin here are my top 5 favourite foods:

Salmon

This tasty underwater treat is full of skin benefits. First of all, it is full of the essential fatty acid Omega-3. Omega-3’s are responsible for maintaining your skin’s metabolism, controlling the secretion of oils and sustaining natural levels of collagen.

This fish is also a good source of lean protein. Since your skin is made of mostly protein, it’s not surprising that a daily dose of protein protects your skin from damage.5 foods for gorgeous skin leafy greens

Leafy Greens

I’ve been a lover of veggies since I was a little girl, but didn’t get into leafy greens like kale, collards, and bok choy until I was a teenager. These vegetables are rich with vitamins that help promote clear, youthful skin.

Vitamin A and C both help clear acne, regenerate skin cells, and promote cellular turnover for brighter skin. They also flush your body of toxins and free radicals that can damage your skin and, ultimately, it’s appearance.

Walnuts

These aren’t one of my favourite tasting nuts, but they sure are great wrinkle-reducers. Rich in linoleic acid, they  keep your skin nicely moisturized so the likelihood of wrinkles and fine lines significantly diminishes.

Sunflower Seeds5 foods for gorgeous skin sunflower seeds

The official seed of baseball and a fan-favourite of birds, sunflower seeds are tasty and great for your skin. These seeds are high in vitamin E and a great source of the Omega-6 fatty acid. Adding this to your diet will help maintain the integrity of your cell membranes and repair previous skin damage. Combine them with vitamin C-rich foods and further prevent potential sun-damage to your skin.

Lemons

You know the saying “When life hands you lemons.” This fruit is ripe with vitamin C, a vitamin with a million glowing skin benefits.

Vitamin C has the ability to increase natural collagen production and maintain your skin’s elasticity. As we age, we lose levels of this nutrient so it’s important to supplement.

Adding a few slices of lemon to your glass of water can also help flush your body of all the toxins that are preventing proper functioning. A full flushing will give your detoxifying organs a much-needed break so they can go back to focusing on more important things. The benefits of this are plenty- acne-free, even-toned, lighter skin.

Wrinkle-reducing, damage preventing, moisture-providing foods for your skin. Who knew that talking about gorgeous skin could make you so hungry?

 

guest blogger sabrina taylorAuthor Bio: Sabrina is a sassy writer for BESskincare.com. Alongside her BFF V, she delves into the world of all things skin care and beauty. From brutally honest product reviews to dirty DIYs like anti-aging face masks, she covers it all. Stay connected with her on Facebook and Twitter.

What Kind of Acne Do You Have?

Do you have acne? I was traumatized when I was diagnosed with acne in college; it felt like the end of the world. I didn’t think my skin was “bad enough” to be called acne, yet there I was in the dermatologist’s office complaining of breakouts I couldn’t control. Now that I work in skin care, I simply see the word as a way to define how often someone breaks out. If you’re breaking out several times a month, or you have more than a couple of breakouts at a time, I consider that acne.

But do you know that there are kinds of acne that don’t break out? The tricky part about acne comes in when someone isn’t having breakouts, but they have what I call textural acne, or bumpy acne. Often, these little bumps don’t come to a head and pop, the way a normal pimple might. Nevertheless, I still consider this acne, even if my client doesn’t.

Let’s look at the kinds of acne that you can get.

Pustular Acne  acne

This is the more inflammatory, infected acne. This acne will generally come up as a localized bump and turn red. It will eventually develop a white head, pop, and then start to heal. This kind of acne is generally cause by a bacterial infection in the skin, and is treated with topical antibiotics.

 

acneTextural Acne

This acne you can feel. Some bumps may be large enough to see. The bumps are either milia, or bumps that are under the surface and don’t go anywhere, or blackheads. Textural acne needs to be addressed because it is often a precursor to pustular acne. It is best treated with retinol.

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is the one that hurts. These bumps show up under the skin. They can cause soreness and will often hang around for a long period of time, sometimes even weeks. They often don’t come to a head. Do not try to pop these! Chronic cystic acne will probably require a trip to see the dermatologist, as the infection is deeper than just the surface of the skin.

A Combination of Several Kinds

Most people with severe acne have both textural and pustular acne happening at the same time. The problem is that bumpy acne can become pustular acne easily, since bumpy acne is a prime environment for bacteria, which will inevitably become a pimple.

Each form of acne needs to be treated in a specific way. Pustular acne needs to be treated in a way that kills bacteria, usually with benzoyl peroxide or clindamycin. Textural acne generally requires something to unclog pores, like salicylic acid or retinol. Cystic acne is very difficult to treat topically, but you may find relief if you apply ice to reduce inflammation and numb soreness.

I like to focus my treatment efforts on textural acne first. This takes longer and requires more patience, but if you can unclog the skin, you ultimately will prevent pustular acne by eliminating the environment that produces the pustular acne in the first place.

It’s hard to treat multiple kinds of acne at once, unless your skin is super durable or oily. Acne treatments can be incredibly drying, and using a combination of several products can lead to inflammation, flakiness, and irritation. You may find that juggling your acne treatments with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer provides enough balance. Or maybe you’ll need to use one treatment on one day and another on another day. You’ll need to find the balance that is right for you. Check with your doctor for options if you’re using prescriptions and having trouble.

 

 

 

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Why Your Acne Products Aren’t Working

why your acne products stopped workingAcne. Persistent breakouts. It is one of the trickiest things to treat. And everyone claims to have a magic cure. If you’re an acne sufferer, then you’ve probably tried every product out there.

Unfortunately, acne is more than just a physiological issue.  This means that acne is often a problem that is that is deeper than just a case of too much oil, dead skin, and bacteria. Although all acne boils down to this basic issue, many hidden factors can impact why you might be more breakout prone. Sometimes these issues can make it incredibly difficult to find a good solution.

Hormones have a huge influence on your skin, for both men and women. The good news is, men typically grow out of the hormones that cause acne. The bad news for women is that we typically grow into that hormone. Many women are affected by persistent breakouts for the rest of their lives. Hormonal acne is a subject I’ll be exploring in-depth in a future post.

Let’s look at some other reasons why your acne products aren’t working.

  • You’re not consistent with your regimen. This may not necessarily mean using the same products every night, but it may mean rotating consistently. Your skin needs consistency at this point. Maybe you’ve been switching brands, or maybe you don’t use any skin care most of the week.  Stick with one product line for at least three months, if not six. Put into skin terms: your skin cell cycle is at least 30 days. If you use a product for 2 months, that’s only two skin cell cycles. Changing the skin is like steering a barge. It takes time to reverse a course. You can’t do a 180 in a day.
  • You’re not treating your type of acne with the right kind of product to address it. Not all acne is created equal. There are a finite number of ingredients that can fix acne. One kind of acne may respond better to one kind of treatment, while another may respond better to a different ingredient. For example, benzoyl peroxide is best for an inflammatory acne (the bumps come to a head and eventually pop). Retinol is best for non-pustular, bumpy acne (acne that causes texture but doesn’t necessarily become infected).
  • You’re over-treating your acne. If you inadvertently over-treat and dry your skin out, you will make acne worse. Skin that’s been over-treated also has inflammation because it’s irritated. Clogs become drier and more stubborn and won’t come out as easily. The skin is less pliable. Inflamed skin is more likely to contract around the pores, which creates a favorable environment for bacteria to replicate. And boom. More pimples.

Remember that may not be the quality of the product… it may just be that there is a greater issue causing your acne to be more persistent. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop as I continue to talk about the kinds of acne and ingredients to treat them.

 

 

Speak your mind! Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

The Gym for Your Skin

strength training work outWe live in a “more is more” world. And it’s hard, even for me sometimes, to remember that when it comes to skin care, often less is more.

Cristina Carlino, founder of Philosophy skin care, used to compare using the Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder to yoga and the Philosophy Help He retinol treatment to cardio. I’ve always loved this comparison. I’ve adopted it and expanded it to help my clients understand how to balance their routines with just enough work and rest for your skin.

Retinoids (retinol serums, prescription Retin-A) and AHA peels are like a strength training routine. You can’t work the same muscles every day. You have to take rest days to allow time for muscles to rebuild. You’ll weaken the skin if you use a retinoid every day, just like you’d weaken your bicep and cause yourself an injury if you worked it out every day. You have to have rest days so you can build back stronger and better.

I generally advocate limited usage of AHAs and retinoids for this reason. I like to take time off from these ingredients now and then, or use them just a few times a week. This way, you allow your skin to rebuild on the off days, thus strengthening your skin.

I love ingredients like vitamin C to repair and restore, but you can use anything designed to be anti-inflammatory on your days off. Just as you might take a restorative yoga class after a tough workout or get a massage after a long run, try something designed to reduce redness or calm irritation.

This method of rotating products can make your skin care routine feel complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. You can still use a simple three-step routine; just swap your products on designated nights. Stick with a schedule so that you don’t have to think about it. It takes a while to build the habit, but with a little practice, you’ll have it. And your skin will thank you for it later!

 

 

Are You Missing Out?

anti agin skin careSomeone asked me a great question today. She was concerned that treating her rosacea was getting in the way of treating her fine lines and wrinkles. When I tell people to target their concerns, I mean that you need to address what you’d like to change about your skin, but what I really mean is that you need to treat what is actually happening with your skin.

First, let’s take a broad view of how the skin ages. It’s more complicated than skin care companies make it seem. We’ll keep it simple for this purpose. Skin cells divide in the base layer and rise to the surface, flattening and essentially dying as they go. We exfoliate the top layers off, which sends a message to the bottom layers to divide more often. As we age, the DNA of these cells starts to become damaged, and the skin cells replicate the damaged DNA. The key to anti-aging comes in when we look at the reasons why the DNA becomes damaged in the first the place. And the answer to this question is inflammation.

Inflammation is one of those words that we hear all the time. Famous doctors like Dr. Perricone, Dr. Weil, and Dr. Oz talk about it all the time. But it’s a word that gets thrown around so much that most of us don’t think about it much more. Something claims to be anti-inflammatory, and it sounds great. If inflammation is bad, obviously anti-inflammatories are good. But if we think about it for a second, just in relation to the skin, inflammation prevents the cells from replicating the way they are supposed to. Take this one step further, and we see that long-term, inflammation can lead to lots of damaged DNA replicating itself over and over. Chronic, systemic inflammation is the root of almost all aging.

My theory is always that taking care of your skin the way it needs to be taken care of is always the best anti-aging. Skin issues such as rosacea, eczema, and acne are all the result of inflammation. So if inflammation causes aging, reducing inflammation is itself anti-aging. Maintaining skin health is the best way to prevent wrinkles because you allow the skin to heal and protect itself.