Top Picks for Sunscreens

best sunscreen skin care product recommendationSummer brings heat waves, watermelon, and fun in the sun. It also brings a lot of questions about sunscreens. I’ve talked about how to pick a sunscreen. Today, I’m sharing some of my top picks with you.

When I look for a sunscreen, I look first for a mineral filter. I prefer physical blocks like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for several reasons. Mineral sunscreens protect your skin from UV damage, and they are also anti-inflammatory. Zinc oxide is the primary ingredient in diaper cream; it’s known to reduce redness and soothe irritation. Mineral sunscreens are also less likely to cause reactions, so I always recommend them for my sensitive or allergic clients. Mineral sunscreens have a tendency to be thicker, so I know that an oily skin type is going to want a lighter texture. Sometimes you’ll need to go a chemical filter in this case. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!

True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30My first pick is the True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. I’ve linked to the one for baby, but there are several available. I stumbled onto this one at the drugstore one day, and I’ve recommended it ever since. It has a pure mineral sunscreen, and the rest of the ingredients are a blend of truly natural ingredients. It’s moisturizing enough to be an all-in-one product.

Who will love it: Dry skin types, natural skin types, sensitive skin types

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40

 

The Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 is a classic bestseller, and for good reason. It is super lightweight, but still a 100% mineral sunscreen. It absorbs quickly and can be used over any daytime product, from serums to moisturizers. Clarins claims to be a botanically based line, and that bothers me because they really aren’t. But if you’re looking for a lightweight sunscreen, this does the trick.

Who will love it: Oily skin types, people who want lightweight textures

 

bareMinerals SPF 30I mentioned this one in my summer essentials post, but I’m bringing it up again because I just like it that much. My favorite sunscreen touch-up product is the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. Sunscreens are only effective when used properly, and proper use means regular reapplication. This is a great way to touch up your sunscreen and mattify oiliness without budging your makeup. The brush is softer than most of the other powder sunscreens on the market, so it’s much nicer for sensitive skin.

Who will love it: Makeup wearers who want to reapply, oily skin types

Boscia BB Cream

I really love my BB cream. I’ve been using the Boscia B.B. Cream that features an SPF 27 in a mineral filter. It’s got a tint to it, so you get coverage and complexion evening all in the same step. It also has treatment benefits; it has licorice root extract and arbutin to help with pigmentation. It also has ingredients that act as a skin primer, so it smooths texture and fine lines. I wear mine almost every day. It’s lightly hydrating, but dry skin types will still want to use  a moisturizer.

Who will love it: Girls on the go who still want to look polished

Do you have a favorite sunscreen? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

 

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.

Get Your Skin Summer Ready

The rest of the country may have been experiencing summer for a few weeks now, but New York City is officially in the middle of a heat wave. Depending on your skin type, your skin may thrive in the summer, or it may get your skin summer ready turn into a big mess.

Typically all skin types, from oily to dry, will start to produce more oil. The heat and humidity makes us sweatier and, before you realize it, you may be breaking out more than normal. It can also help skin types that are prone to conditions like eczema and psoriasis minimize outbreaks.

Here are some tips to get your skin summer ready.

  • Add a salicylic acid wash. Even drier skin types can benefit from a salicylic acid wash a couple of times a week to help control the excess sweat and oil. If you’re normally a dry skin type, try a salicylic acid wash two to three times a week. Oilier skin types may benefit from daily usage. Most salicylic acid washes are found with a 2% concentration normally, so adjust your usage if you’ve found something stronger.
  • Lighten up those textures. Dry winter skin and harsh climates beg for creamy, rich textures. Summer calls for lighter lotions. Heavy creams combined with extra oil production creates the perfect storm for breakouts. Put your creams aside and look for lightweight or oil-free lotions. You may even like a little oil control this time of year.
  • Try an acne treatment. If the summer heat has you breaking out a couple times a week, it may be time to try an acne-control serum. Your skin may just need that extra control. Look for something with a blend of acids, alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic. Daily usage under a moisturizer will keep your skin clearer.
  • Amp up your SPF. Warm weather sends people outside, whether it’s beach vacations, spending weekends on the lake, or even just dining outside more often. Make sure you’ve got your skin protected when you’re outside by upping your SPF protection. I like to keep mineral powders in my bag for touch-ups if I end up outside, so I can reapply my SPF without messing up my makeup (and getting a little extra shine control). I also recommend swapping your morning moisturizer with SPF to a dedicated sunscreen. I like the lighter combination of a hydrating serum and a sunscreen in the summer and find it’s just enough for even my dry skin.
  • Get a pro peel. I’m a huge fan of peels, and I believe that they are worth the extra investment in a facial. Super oily skin and acne-prone types may benefit from a salicylic acid peel a couple of times in the summer for added oil and acne control. Drier types can still benefit; peels remove excess dead skin cells and help keep pores clear. The caveat? Make sure to wear your SPF and don’t plan to peel right before or after a beach vacation.

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you tweak your skin care routine for the summer? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Just The FAQs: Will That Make Me Break Out?

can products cause acneThis particular question is always a hot topic. People are always quick to blame their skin care for the problems they’re having. The truth of the matter is, sometimes breakouts just happen. Sometimes it happens at the same time you change your skin care routine. I can’t tell you if something will make you break out without also looking at the rest of your routine and your skin type. I don’t often find that one single product is the only reason.

Acne can be complicated by many things, but it always comes down to three factors: excessive oil, a build up of dead skin cells, and bacteria. There may be underlying causes that influence one of these factors, like diet, hormones, or stress. Knowing this, there are only a few ways that a product can cause acne. I will say that some skin care can affect breakouts, but it is not nearly as common as people think. Here are a few cases where a product can cause acne.

  • Adding excessive oil to the skin. If you are already very oily, and you start using a product that has oils or occlusive ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, or even shea butter, you will break out. Because your skin doesn’t need more oil, the occlusives block the pores, therefore leading to more clogs. Add a little bacteria to the party, and you have a breakout.
  • Purging the skin. Whether skin really purges is a point of debate, even among skin care professionals. I believe it happens in very specific instances, and not every time you change your skin care. It might happen if your skin is already clogged and you start using something that contains retinol or salicylic acid. These ingredients break down debris in the pores, and you may experience some breakouts. Ultimately, you are reducing the likelihood a breakouts long-term since you are keeping the pores clear. Short-term, it’s no fun.
  • Causing allergic reactions. Acne is not a common allergic reaction. Most allergic reactions look like itchy red skin, rashy red bumps, or flakiness. Allergic reactions do cause inflammation though, and if you have conditions that are favorable for breakouts, it may make it more likely. Inflammation constricts a clogged pore, creating the anaerobic environment that bacteria thrives in. And voilà! Pimple.

In order to know if something would make you break out, you have to look at your skin care routine as whole, and how often you’re currently breaking out. [Tweet this!] Are you acne-prone, but not well controlled? Most people have a natural tendency to break out. It’s just what the skin likes to do. People tell me that they can only use a certain product or they break out. My reaction to this is that they need to be on an acne control regimen that will keep the pores clear and prevent breakouts long-term, because their skin is naturally prone to clog. I once read a quote from Dr. Dennis Gross, founder of MD Skincare, and he stated that it takes six weeks to form a breakout. If that’s true, then it can’t be the product you started using last week.

Have you ever stopped using a product because you felt it made you break out? After reading this, do you still think it was the product?

 

 

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

The Salad Dressing Theory

difference between oil and water in the skinI often hear people tell me that their skin is dry because they haven’t been drinking enough water. In fact, I’ve even had other estheticians reprimand me for not drinking enough water to cure my own dry skin. This persistent myth drives me crazy because it’s not even scientifically possible.

First, let’s define the terms. Dehydrated skin lacks water. Dry skin lacks oil. Any skin type can be dehydrated. In fact, most skin types are dehydrated because so many things we do strip water from our bodies. Since the skin is the first line of defense, even dry air can steal water from your skin.

Now let’s talk about my salad dressing theory. Oil and water don’t mix in your skin, just like they don’t mix in a vinaigrette. You have to shake a salad dressing to get both flavors. It’s the same in the skin; one cannot replace the other. Healthy, balanced skin has just enough of each.

Drinking water is good for you for many reasons. Not one of those reasons is because it moisturizes your dry skin. Since dry skin lacks oil, the only thing that solves the problem of dry skin is adding an oil. I like healthy, botanical oils like jojoba or argan oil. If you want to eat your way to moisturized skin, try avocados, flax seed, or nuts. Drinking water actually won’t hydrate your skin either. It’s virtually impossible to drink enough to hydrate from the inside. The best way to solve a dehydration problem is to add a hydrating serum to your daily routine.

Oily skin doesn’t necessarily need a moisturizer; it has more than enough oil, by definition. It needs a hydrator. This is exactly what an oil-free moisturizer is since there are no oils to moisturize. I do think that oily skin can benefit from a lotion simply because it helps to seal the water into the skin, but truly oily skin can just use a serum and be fine. Dry skin needs to be moisturized, which is how we add the proper oils to skin. Since dry skins are often dehydrated, these skin types may want to use a hydrating serum as well.

It’s important that you understand the difference between these terms so that you can be sure to treat your skin appropriately. You can’t solve your dryness with water. This isn’t a pass to skip water drinking completely, but, as always, remember to treat your skin for what is actually wrong to get the best results.

Thinking Out of the Box

woman jumping out of skin care boxSkin care companies have put you in a box for years, and I’m here to break you free.

People often confuse skin types with skin concerns. Skin types only indicate how much oil you produce. It’s a sliding scale with very oily skin on one side and extremely dry skin on the other. The center of the scale is balanced skin, or skin that produces just enough oil to be moisturized on its own. Many things can affect your oil production, like seasonal changes, hormonal changes, and medications. Make sure to flex your routine to match what’s actually going on with your skin.

Skin concerns are the specific things you want to change about your skin, like acne, pigmentation, or fine lines. Many people will tell me that their skin type is sensitive, but this is actually more of a concern. No matter what your skin type, you can absolutely treat whatever concern you have in a way that works for you.

Oily skin types generally want to stick with lighter textures. Oil free lotions can be helpful in the summer, but in the winter, be careful of not getting enough moisture. I find lots of oily skin types overestimate their oiliness and get a little dried out in the cooler months. Look for a lotion that is still lightweight but has some botanical oils in it, like jojoba, sunflower, or argan oils. Treat your concerns with serums. Most serums are lightweight enough to not create any more oiliness on the skin, and you can get them to treat any concern you have.

Balanced skin types have the most options of all the skin types, but you are also the ones that need to pay the most attention to external factors. You may find that having a few options for your routine allows you more flexibility. In general, you want to stick with medium weight textures. You may like layering a few serums to help address your concerns and keeping your moisturizer lighter. In cooler months, you may like a bit of a heavier moisturizer. If you’re prone to break outs, keep the moisturizer light and layer the serums to get the right amount of hydration.

Dry skin types can’t get enough moisture. You love a creamy, buttery texture. I’m a dry skin type, and in the winter, creams just can’t be rich enough. But dry skin types need to watch out for going overboard. Creams that are too heavy can lay on the surface of the skin, not only clogging the pores but also preventing moisture from penetrating the deeper layers of the skin. Dry skin types want to embrace layers, maybe using a hydrating serum before a deeper moisturizer. Your skin has more opportunity to absorb many light layers than one super thick layer.

I generally recommend that you pick a cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type and looking for a serum to address your concerns. All skin types can benefit from using a hydrating serum, even just as needed, to help build in additional moisture that is easy for the skin to absorb.

Do you treat for its type, or your concerns?

Just The FAQs: Do I Need a Deep Cleansing Facial?

Often when I ask a new client what their primary reason for getting a facial is, they respond that they need a deep cleansing. The deep cleansing facial is a Deep cleansing facialpopular treatment on most spa menus.  But I think the concept of deep cleansing is unnecessary and even a little misleading. Usually what we’re doing is more exfoliation to get deeper into the pores. Unfortunately, what most people think of as a deep cleanse generally leaves the skin stripped of natural oils, which can cause more problems than it solves.

Here’s what you should look for if you want to book a deep cleansing facial.

  • In order to be effective, there needs to be some sort of boost in the exfoliation phase of the facial. The added exfoliation removes more dead skin and softens clogs, going a little deeper than what you can do at home. This freshens the complexion and makes extractions easier. If you are booking a deep cleansing facial, make sure it includes a bump in the exfoliator, above what is offered in the basic facial. If it’s a regular facial, you may want to spring for the add-on peel.
  • We need to do extractions. Some specific deep cleansing facials have extra time added for extractions, but it is not necessary in my opinion. But let me stress, you cannot have a successful deep cleansing facial without extractions. [Tweet this!] Otherwise, I’m not doing anything for you that you can’t do at home. If someone is charging you for a deep cleansing facial and they are not doing extractions, they are stealing your money.

So do you need a deep cleansing facial? The people who do are generally very oily and/or acne-prone, and they need a more aggressive method for getting the debris out of the pores. Look at your nose in the mirror. Do you have lots of visible blackheads? Is the texture of your skin bumpy? Are you oily within an hour of washing your face? If any of your answers are yes, you may want to consider a deep cleanse.

Before you book a deep cleansing facial, ask yourself what you really need. Take a close look at the description on the spa menu. Compare the description of the deep cleansing facial to the one for the regular, or basic facial. If they are charging you more, what are they adding? If they don’t have a specific deep cleansing facial, ask your esthetician. You can still get that deep clean feel without the fancy name. Upgrade your peel. Extra extractions can be helpful for a small percentage of the population, but most people just don’t need that much time. In fact, sometimes it can even reach a point of being detrimental. Ask if you are unsure of how much time you’ll need. If you’re concerned about oil and debris on the surface of the skin, you need to look at your daily cleanser, not a facial. And, if you’re concerned about blackheads, maybe there are ways to tweak your home care routine to better address your concerns.

 

 

Like this post? Get skin tips and tricks delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter!

Sunny Summer Days

This past Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. Now everyone can look forward to months of beaches and BBQs and fun in the sun. Summer can also mean dramatic changes in your skin that can often wreak havoc. Read on for some ideas on avoiding trouble and cruising through summer with a glow.

Changes of season are a great time to revisit your skincare routine.  Everyone experiences changes in their skin, and routines need to be tweaked accordingly. As temperatures rise, you may find that your oiliness increases as well. More oiliness calls for lighter textures and, for some, moderate use of oil controlling ingredients. You may find that adding a wash with salicylic acid will help to combat excessive shine and more frequent breakouts. Look for a wash with 2% salicylic acid. Use it daily for oily-all-over skin types, and try it three times a week for T-zone-oily skin types. Remember that overuse of salicylic acid can dry, so dial it back a little if you start to dry out.

Increases in oiliness can also often lead to more clogged pores, which can in turn lead to seasonal breakouts. These breakouts are easily controlled. Again, increasing your use of salicylic acid can help, adding either a wash or a light acne control serum. Remember that you still need to hydrate and protect your skin, so don’t skip your moisturizer for fear of making breakouts worse. Instead, switch to a light-weight hydrator, or use a hydrating serum under your sunscreen.

Warmer days often encourage extra sun exposure too, so it is also the time to increase your daily SPF protection. I generally recommend switching to a dedicated SPF and putting your moisturizer with SPF aside until fall. Make sure you amp up to an SPF 30 as well, as you need that extra coverage. You may find that dusting on a mineral SPF powder can give you a mid-day touch up, protecting your skin while blotting some excess shine. I’ve talked about sunscreens more in depth in other posts.

Pigmentation is also a concern in summer months. Diligent use of sunscreen is your best defense against those pesky brown spots. You can add a botanical brightening serum underneath your moisturizer. I usually do this morning and night in order to get a boost in repair, as well as proactively protecting against more damage. I recommend putting your prescriptions or products containing hydroquinone away for the summer since misuse of more aggressive products can actually lead to more damage.

Summer skin problems don’t have to stop your fun. [Tweet this!] A few simple changes to your routine can help keep your skin under control and glowing through the fall!

 

 

Like this post? Get skin tips and tricks delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter!