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?

5 Ways to Get Glowing by Valentine’s Day

valentine card with glowing skinValentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether you have a date or are looking for one… you’re going to need to get your best glow going! Here are five tips to get you glowing in just a few days.

  • Cozy up with a vitamin C serum. Vitamin C helps to promote blood circulation (therefore detoxing the skin), decrease uneven skin tone, and brightening your complexion all over. You’ll get bonus brightening if the vitamin C is paired with arbutin, licorice root extract, or kojic acid. One of my favorites is the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum, packed with potent vitamin C to stimulate repair and get the blood moving. Another of my favorites is the Korres Wild Rose Brightening Serum , which uses wild rose extracts that naturally contain vitamin C to brighten and prevent fine lines.
  • Kiss your skin with some alpha hydoxy acids. A little extra exfoliation helps to get rid of the layers of dead skin cells that sometimes build up in cooler months and cause a dull complexion. Add a glycolic cleanser three to four times a week, or try an at home peel once a week for the next two weeks to excavate your glow. Some to try? I love DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge glycolic wash (available in varying glycolic strengths start with 1 if you’re new to glycolic), which is formulated to not cause excessive dryness. For at-home peels, I love MD Skincare’s Alpha-Beta Daily Face Peel, though I feel like daily use can be excessive. I generally recommend using it 2-3 times per week at night.
  • Have a fling with an instant brightening mask. I keep these miracle workers
    on hand for a quick fix. My current romance is with the Boscia Bright White Mask, packed with vitamin C and sea algae to remineralize and revitalize the complexion. Another one to try? I love Fresh Rose Face Mask for hydration and a glow.
  • Commit to complete moisture. Cold weather slows oil production and harsh wind can abuse the skin. Look for skin replenishing lipids such as ceramides, shea butter, and healthy botanical oils like jojoba and argan oils. I get my deep moisture from creams like Sircuit Skin Cloud 9 moisturizer or the Astara Antioxidant Light Moisturizer, which is a little lighter but still a glow getter. Be careful of going too heavy… many moisturizers just sit on the surface, leaving the underlying layers depleted and lacking luster. When in doubt, apply layers of moisture in the form of serums and creams.
  • Cheat your complexion with some cosmetic saviors. I rely on highlighters like Fresh’s Twilight highlighter and Benefit High Beam to fake a glow
    where there was dullness before. I swear by a pink blush like the ever famous NARS Orgasm blush, which has saved me on many an early morning (better for lighter skin tones… try Dolce Vita for deeper skin tones). I also love Tarte cheek stain in Blushing Bride. The gel texture is better for dry skin types because it helps the skin appear more hydrated (powders sometimes make skin look drier, which is opposite of the glow we’re going for).

These are some of my favorite tips. What do you do to save your complexion in the middle of tough skin times?

ribbon heart

Deep Down Cleaning At Home

Sometimes a change of season makes us crave a little detoxification. Since it is common to experience an increase in breakouts as the weather cools off, you might want to amp up your exfoliation at home and dig a little deeper in your pores at home. Remember that nothing replaces manual extractions in a facial, but here are some tricks to get a little home detox going.

DermaDoctor Wrinkle Revenge 1 CleanserTry a glycolic acid or salicylic acid wash at home a few times a week. Salicylic is best for blackheads, but it may be too much for drier skin types. Since we’re trying to soften the skin and get a little extra exfoliation, glycolic washes are great, quick things to do at home. My favorites include the DermaDoctor Wrinkle Revenge Cleanser, which is a great creamy, non-drying glycolic cleanser in various strengths (start with Wrinkle Revenge 1 if you’ve never used a glycolic wash). Another great option is the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel. It includes a little salicylic acid, so it is better from more combination skin types.

 

I like to amp up my at-home cleanse with the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush a couple of times a week. Ultrasound cleansing or sonic cleansing uses sound waves to break up the debris on the surface of the skin more quickly and more effectively than regular cleansers. Plus the oscillations of the brush stimulate the micro-circulation in the uppermost layers of the skin which also boosts your natural glow.

 

Get some extra exfoliation with an at home peel. Whereas I strongly believe that at-home Juice Beauty Green Apple Peelpeels can’t replace the professional strength ones that I offer in my clinical practice, it is a great way to get more effective exfoliation at home. Do an at-home peel once a week and follow with a clay mask to mimic some of the results of a professional deep cleansing that I do in my treatments. Some fun ones to try? I’ve always loved the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel. It’s an extremely effective peel as well as being organic. I also love the Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Youth Accelerator Pumpkin Peel. I work with this line currently, and it is my go-to enzyme peel for people with congested skin.

Rodan + Fields Anti-Age Daily Cleansing MaskFollow your peel with a detoxifying clay mask a couple of times a week. I have been using the Rodan and Fields Anti-Age Daily Cleansing Mask a few times a week to help draw impurities out of the skin in this especially sweaty, oily time of year. It is a clay-based cleanser that can double as a mask, making it a quick detox for super busy people. Another mask to try is the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, a fun peel-off mask that detoxifies while it brightens, though it definitely requires more time to work effectively.

 

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that your skin doesn’t need to be deeply cleansed often. Some natural oils on your skin are not bad; in fact, it is even healthy! So don’t mistake a stripped down, tight feeling for a deep cleanse. But incorporating some of these ideas and products into your regular routine a few times a week can help control breakouts, keep cell turnover rate high, and boost your daily glow.

 

Falling Back

Fall is in the air in New York for sure, and as the leaves change…so should your skin care routine. These are a few quick tips for managing seasonal changes in your skin.

New fall season requires changes to skin care routineAs the weather cools off, skin has a tendency to dry. Be sure to add some extra moisture to your routine. Look for a moisturizer that has some healthy fats in it, like natural botanical oils such as jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, or avocado oil. You can even stretch your summer moisturizer into the fall months by using some simple, inexpensive jojoba oil underneath it as a serum. Be sure, as always, to avoid mineral oil and petrolatum. Sometimes, switching to a milky cleanser also helps to alleviate dryness, even if you only use it a few times a week.

Many people, myself included, are seeing an increase in their breakouts. Adding an acne control serum can quickly curb breakouts. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid or willow bark extract. Don’t forget to moisturize afterward though! Your skin is likely to be drier right now, and the added acne control can then make dryness worse. Use a skin-type appropriate moisturizer. Sometimes an exfoliating mask can sometimes help to bring your skin back in line. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid. And again, remember to moisturize afterward!

Fall is also time for seasonal allergies. Those prone to hay fever may see an increase in dry, itchy skin or eczema. Here again, I find that a healthy botanical oil is very helpful either used on its own or a few drops spiked into your regular moisturizer (for face or body). Sometimes a little hydrocortisone cream can help in small patches. If itchiness persists, definitely see your doctor for a prescription.

Seasonal facials can be a great way to manage a lot of these little changes. A professional exfoliation, extractions, and mask can often give your out-of-balance skin just the help it needs in order to get back on track, as well as giving you a little quality time to check in with an expert on your current skin care routine.

The key to managing your skin during a seasonal change is simply paying attention and being adaptable. Your skin will need different things at different times, so you must be willing to tweak your routine in order to respond. Feeling dry? Maybe amp up your moisturizer for a few days. Breaking out? Add some acne control for a week just in your problem areas. It’s okay to change your skin care routine based on what your skin needs at the time. [Tweet this!] Your skin is always changing, and your skin care routine should adapt as well.

 

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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!

 

 

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Winterize Your Skin

Tips to protect your skin against the winter weather.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.

 

Speak your mind! How do you cope when the cold weather wreaks havoc on your skin? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!