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!

The Skin Care Puzzle

skin care puzzleMy job in life is to help people with their skin. Usually this means I’m helping them with a skin care problem. No matter where I am, at the spa or at the bar, I can’t stop until I’ve figured it out. Once someone’s given me a problem to solve, I start collecting information.

People are sometimes surprised at the number of questions I ask, and even what kind of information I’m looking for. But, like a detective, I am piecing together a puzzle. And everything you tell me is another piece of the puzzle. If I can gather enough pieces, I can see the whole picture.

So what kind of information do I need to figure out how your puzzle pieces fit together? I look at all kinds of details. I want to know what you’re currently using, from your cleanser to your prescriptions. Even oral prescriptions for conditions unrelated to the skin can affect how your skin behaves.

I especially need to know about what kind of exfoliants you’re using at home, and how often. Exfoliation is the puzzle piece that is often difficult to get just right. Not exfoliating often enough leads to dull skin, clogged pores, and flakiness. Exfoliating too often can lead to redness, irritation, and more flakiness.

I also want to know about your diet. What you eat or don’t eat can absolutely affect your skin. I’ve noticed that people on low-fat diets can be very dry. Your dairy intake can also affect your acne. If your stress levels lead you to eat lots of sweets, your skin ca be affected. Or you may simply eat fewer healthy foods, also affecting your skin.

Given this huge list of variables, it’s often hard to tell if a product is working well for you. If you are using an anti-acne regimen, but your stress levels are causing you to break out, you will still break out. We might be able to control them more, and diminish the frequency or the severity. Maybe your acne serum will work if it’s partnered with a different cleanser. It can be hit-or-miss to find just the right combo, but the more pieces of the puzzle we have, the faster we can put it together.

People look at skin care products as the end all, when in actuality, it’s only one piece of a very large puzzle. [Tweet this!] All the pieces must fit together to get you beautiful, glowing skin.

 

 

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The Truth About Picking

skin pickingI am a recovering skin picker. My “joke” is that I went to esthetics school because I ran out of stuff to pick out of my own skin. I relapse occasionally, like I did last week when I improperly picked a blackhead and turned it into a nasty mark on my chin. When my acne was at its peak, I struggled not to pick. And I still get frustrated when I get a spot that I can’t seem to let go of.

Skin picking, or dermatillomania, the clinical name for extreme skin picking, can be a serious problem for many people. It can be an annoying problem for even more people. It’s easy to beat yourself up when you succumb to picking. I know from my own personal experience and the experiences of my clients that many people struggle to stop picking their skin.

Picking is more than just wanting to pop a pimple. It can be rooted in causes such as anxiety, depression, stress, boredom, and even anger. Picking a spot can feel like a release, a stress relief, and a feeling of satisfaction. It may give you a temporary high.

I’ve managed to (mostly) conquer my picking with soul-searching, tough love, and some serious skin care. Here’s what I can share about what’s helped me control my picking.

  • Get to the issue behind the picking. When you catch yourself, try to stop and ask yourself what’s really going on. What’s causing you to obsess over this spot? Is it textural? Are you bored? Are you stressed? Are you angry? Just being aware that something else is going on can be a huge help to decoding this habit. As you start to figure out the emotions under your picking, you’ll be able to come up with healthier alternatives.
  • Invest in some solid skin care. The fastest way to stop picking is to stop having stuff to pick. Ultimately, I didn’t conquer my picking habit as much as I conquered my acne. I found that investing in products that worked for me gave me a feeling of control so that I didn’t feel so helpless. And not having the bumps simply removed the temptation.
  • Pick in a healthy way. If I have that bump that’s screaming at me, I make sure to go through my proper picking protocol. Investing my picking time in a method that won’t cause scarring still gives me the satisfaction of doing something about my blemishes, and keeps my mind off further digging.
  • Reward yourself for not picking. Investing in a facial can be a reward for not picking, as well as a deterrent to further picking.  It encourages you to keep your hands off your own pores, as you are spending money to have someone else handle the problem. It also relieves the stress of having that feeling that something is stuck in your skin and needs to be removed.

These tips are not intended to replace the advice of a licensed professional. If you suffer from extreme picking, dermatillomania, trichotillomania, or any other compulsions, help is available. Please reach out if you need help.

 

 

I make a conscious effort to control my picking. Do you struggle? What works for you to stop? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Just The FAQs: Do I Have To Wash My Face At Night?

You’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re tired when you get home. You start to unwind and, before you know it, you’re falling asleep and can do i have to wash my face at nightbarely stumble to bed. So starts the great nightly debate: To wash or not to wash?

Here are a few reasons why the answer is a resounding yes, you must wash your face!

  • It prevents break outs. If you wear makeup, you must remove it. Even light powders can trap excess oil and dirt on your skin, creating a favorable environment for bacteria. Washing removes this bacteria and lets you start fresh with clean skin … and avoid future breakouts. And no, makeup removing wipes don’t count. Even they can leave residue on your skin.
  • It prevents aging. Even if you don’t wear makeup, your skin still needs to be cleaned of excess oil, sweat, and pollution. [Tweet this!] Pollution is a big factor here. All those free radicals in the air land on your skin and wreak havoc. Your cells oxide and thus hasten the aging process. Cleansing can neutralize some of these adverse affects.
  • It prepares the skin for your fancy creams and serums. If you’ve invested any money or effort at all into your skin care routine, you want to apply those products to fresh skin. Removing all make up, dirt, and sweat reveals the healthy skin underneath. Applying your products to this skin means that they will absorb better, meaning you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
  • It reminds you to use the aforementioned fancy creams and serums. Skin care doesn’t stop acne or prevent aging if it only sits in a drawer. [Tweet this!] It must be applied to the skin regularly in order to see results. If you remember to start your routine, you’re more likely to finish it. And your future self will thank you for her radiant glow.
  • It helps you sleep better. Research has shown that having a bedtime ritual relaxes you and can yield a better night’s sleep. Train your brain that when you start your skin care routine, you’re getting ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. The habit will help your mind to unwind faster, meaning that you’ll be getting better beauty sleep while your skin repairs.
  • It guarantees you a few quiet minutes to care for yourself. You spend all day taking care of other people. Don’t you deserve five quiet minutes to invest in the future of your skin? [Tweet this!]

No one is perfect. I’ve inadvertently fallen asleep with makeup on before as well. I’ve used makeup removing wipes in a pinch. But I promise that building this habit is worth it. I’ve offered tips on maximizing your skin care time before, so check them out if you haven’t. And check out one of my personal favorite cleansers as well! On days when you’re really not feeling motivated, remind yourself that you are worth the five minutes that it takes to care  for your skin and yourself.

 

 

Speak your mind! Do you wash up every single night? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Squeeze in More Time for Skin Care

how to squeeze in more time for skin care Who needs more hours in the day? Between working a full-time job and building my own business on the side, I need to know where I can apply to get an 8 day week or a at least a 28 hour day. And I know that I’m no different from any of my clients. Sub in a family for the business, or finishing a master’s degree, and my clients are as pressed for time as I am. So how do you stay looking your best? I’ve talked about beating stress before, but when will you action these tips? Here are a few tips that I use to multi task.

  • Do your evening skin care earlier in the evening. Everyone has a moment when they walk in the door and either change clothes, drop a bag, or kick off shoes. Wash your face then, and follow-up with your evening routine. This way you guarantee it’s done before you start passing out on the couch.
  • Mask while you work. I wrote this post with a mask on my face. No joke… I tweeted it here. I figured if I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep, I might as well cheat one while I work, right? Bonus points for wine while you do it. You can also mask during your favorite TV show, if that’s the only down time you have a week, or while you cook dinner.
  • Benefit from shower time. I do enzyme or hydration masks under the steam in the shower. The steam softens the skin so the mask penetrates better and I get an extra boost to my routine. Plus, it’s easy to remove this way.
  • Mix your serums. I like to spike a hydration serum into my treatment serum and get more bang for my buck. The ingredients of both serums will all penetrate, and it saves me a few extra seconds in the morning.
  • Take just a few minutes to breathe deeply. Ever notice that when you’ve been busy and frantic for a long time, it seems like you can’t remember the last time you took a breath? I trick myself into inhaling. I have calming essential oils by my bedside, and right before I turn out the light, I take just a few seconds to inhale deeply. I’m obsessed with these chakra balancing oils. If this tiny practice of self care helps me sleep more soundly at all, then I’ve done wonders for my skin.

Taking time for yourself can be hard. We’re busy, and it’s just too easy to put everyone else first. If you can carve out even five minutes for some self care, you and your skin will benefit. [Tweet this!] If you do it consciously, even that small amount of time will reduce stress. Take that time. You deserve it!

 

 

Speak your mind! What do you do to squeeze in skin care? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

7 Things You Should Never Say To Your Esthetician

I am, generally speaking, a really nice person. I’m fairly patient. I see the good in everyone, to my own 7 things to never say to your esthetician before a facial detriment.

I’m an even nicer esthetician.

I am not an esthetician who will make you feel badly for using drugstore products. I won’t make you feel badly about not washing every single night. I won’t even make you feel guilty if your last facial was over 10 years ago.

But there are some things that my clients tell me that just drive me nuts. So here are a few things you should never say to your esthetician.

  • My skin is just so sensitive. Sensitive is such a vague word. I need specifics. Are you prone to redness? Do you have a lot of allergies? Are you prone to breakouts? What has happened in the past that makes you choose the word sensitive now? Don’t tell me that you’re sensitive; give me details about your past reactions.
  • I’m just using a hodge podge of random skin care products. We all mix and match. I don’t stick with just one line either. But when I ask you what you’re using, I’m looking for name brands, where you purchase, or active ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I know what kind of products your skin will tolerate. It also helps me figure out why you might be having problems. The more information you provide, the better I can help you.
  • I just saw my plastic surgeon for Botox/ Restylane/ Juvederm/ other injectables this week. All injectables have a waiting period before you can manipulate the skin as I will during massage and extractions. The last thing I want to do is screw up a $1000 worth of filler. Come back after 7-10 days, or better yet, schedule your facial before your visit to the plastic surgeon.
  • I’m just using stuff my dermatologist gave me, but I can’t remember what it is. I’m not trying to go against the recommendations of your dermatologist, but I still need to know what you’re using. Dermatologists often sell or prescribe products with aggressive ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I can make sure that I don’t overstimulate your skin.
  • I’m using really good stuff. I trust that you think what you’re using is good. You wouldn’t spend your hard-earned dollars on it if you didn’t believe that. But what does good mean to you? Brand name? Expensive? Dermatologist recommended? Recommended by another esthetician? I still need to know what you’re using to prevent an adverse reaction. And “good” skin care doesn’t guarantee it’s good for you. [Tweet this!]
  • I don’t need extractions. Everyone needs extractions. And in addition to that, you’re spending a lot of money to see me. Don’t you want to take advantage of that time and let me do what you shouldn’t be doing at home anyway?
  • I’m allergic to (insert common ingredient here) and this is the first time I’ve told anyone. I take allergies seriously, as I take all adverse reactions. But if you don’t tell me about an allergy until after I start your facial, the time I spend reading ingredients on every single bottle is now coming out of your massage time. [Tweet this!] If you have an allergy, call ahead and let me look at ingredients before you come in. It will allow the treatment flow better for both of us.

I really care about my clients and their skin conditions. I want to make sure that your experience is amazing from start to finish. If you have one single concern about your skin, I want to make sure we find a solution that works for you. It’s why I write this blog. But you have to let me help you, and you help me by giving me as much information as you can.

 

 

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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.

What I’m Loving Now: Oils

favorite facial oils including coconut oilThe Northeast is bracing for what will hopefully be the last snow storm of this season, and I have been relying on whatever I can find to keep my dry, itchy skin under control. Here are a few of products that I keep going back to.

 

Argan oil is a popular ingredient these days. It popped up a few years back and fans are Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oilkeeping it front and center. I love the Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil. It has a rich texture that is amazing to soothe dry skin. I especially love it because Kahina gives so much back to the community of Berber women that make the oil. Try a couple of drops under a lotion to amp up your moisture, on cuticles, or even on the ends of hair to tame frizz.

 

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex


All winter, I’ve been using this Replenishing Nutrient Complex from Tata Harper in my facials. I love the double whammy – it’s wonderfully aromatic and soothing, as well as super moisturizing. I find the rollerball incredibly convenient. I keep it in my bag for touch ups over makeup during the day. Remember that dry skin is dull skin, so a hint of oil on the cheeks can restore your glow.

 

You can’t get more of a multi-tasker than coconut oil. I’m not one for making my own skin Organic Coconut Oilcare; I’d just rather buy something that comes in a pretty box. But I’ve been making this One Minute Chocolate Cake from Chocolate Covered Katie just about every night, and I kept getting coconut oil all over my hands. Not wanting to waste, I started working the excess into the ends of my hair, removing my eye makeup, and rubbing it onto my arms. Now I’m almost out, and I’m obsessed. I need my chocolate cake and my moisture. By the way, if you don’t have a nut allergy, coconut is a hot new ingredient for your skin and for your diet.

 

I do find that oils work best with a moisturizer. The oils seem to soak in and disappear on their own. But if you mix a few drops into your moisturizer, or apply the moisturizer over the oil, it really helps to seal in that extra moisture. Don’t be scared of oil. If your skin is dry, it needs the help.

Do you have any favorite oils for these last few cold weeks?

4 Ways You’re Secretly Sabotaging Your Skin

Four things you're doing that may be causing acneBreakouts are frustrating, especially when they show up right before a big event. Sometimes it seems that no matter what products you try, your breakouts persist. Bacteria is a key cause of acne. If you are exposing your skin to things that harbor bacteria, you could be making your skin worse… without even realizing it. Check some  of these everyday items that may be causing more harm than good.

  • Your cell phone. If you often talk on your cell phone, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Oil and makeup can get trapped in the keys and build up on the screen, and… ew. Try using ear buds or a blue tooth when possible, and wiping the surfaces of your phone with alcohol. You can easily get individually wrapped alcohol swabs online to keep in your desk or bag for easy sanitizing.
  • Your pillowcase. It captures oil and sweat from your face nightly, and then you go back the next night and lay your face in all that… ew. The pimples will of course pop up while you’re snoozing. Try changing your pillowcases regularly, even every night if you’re super oily or prone to break outs. Purchase extra pillowcases to make this easier. If you’re using an acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide, make sure to use white pillowcases as it can bleach fabrics.
  • Your makeup brushes. Are you washing them regularly? If not, they can be trapping excess oil and bacteria in the bristles and then, you brush all that… right back on the next day. Try washing your brushes once a week, or even every couple of days if you’re very oily. Better yet, use clean hands wherever possible. Wash your brushes with a gentle non-drying shampoo or even face wash.
  • Your hair products. Heavy hair products can build up alongPhilosophy Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads the hairline, clogging pores and trapping bacteria, and you might not be really getting clean when you wash up at night. Factor in hats and you have… the perfect storm. Try using peel pads along the hairline to get into that area and break down clogging. Some to try are the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel Mini peel pads, which have lactic acid to exfoliate and citrus extracts to help kill bacteria. Oilier or mature skin types can try the Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads, which have a higher concentration of alpha and beta hydroxy acids and some anti-aging ingredients. They’re better for skin types that can take more aggressive exfoliation, especially since these pads have a textured surface. Also, remember to wash your hat regularly as well.

These every day items are things that we often don’t consider when we think about acne treatment programs. Have you ever realized you were secretly sabotaging your efforts for clearer skin?

 

5 Commandments for Life Long Good Skin

5 commandments for a lifetime of good skinAfter a long discussion about the best products, my client asked me to name the one thing you absolutely have to do to have great skin for life. I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Instead, I have the five things that you must do to maintain your skin for life.

  • Wear SPF every day. Start young. UV damage causes 80% of aging, including collagen damage, pigmentation, and potential skin cancer. Obviously the best way to avoid the problem of aging is to protect yourself from the biggest cause of it. I am not anti-sun. I am pro-SPF. [Tweet this!]
  • Wash your face nightly. All day long, your skin protects your insides from pollution, dirt, and grime.  We wear makeup, we sweat, and we get oily. Do yourself a favor and wash all that junk off your face before your skin goes into its most reparative state. Bonus points for giving it peptides and antioxidants to use at night.
  • Quit smoking. I know, smokers hate to hear about all the bad things that smoking does. But if lung cancer doesn’t give you a good enough reason to quit, maybe the increased frequency of blackheads and sallow complexion will.
  • Get enough moisture. Maintaining proper moisture levels keeps the skin soft and supple. Hydrated skin always looks younger than dry, weathered skin. Stave off wrinkles longer by selecting a moisturizer with plenty of antioxidants.
  • Exfoliate regularly, but gently. Exfoliation helps to stimulate cell turnover and remove dulling dead skin cells. I prefer enzyme and acid peels because they provide the most complete exfoliation, as well as cellular regeneration and hydration.

I can make a million recommendations to help you get the best skin of your life. But everything boils down to whether you’re taking care of it, not how expensive your moisturizer is. What goes inside is as important as what goes on the outside, so make sure you take care of your skin from the inside out if you want to maintain your skin for life.

 

 

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