Often times I feel like a broken record when people ask me for skin care advice. Here are my basic questions-
•What kind of skin care regime do you have?
Your answer should be- cleanser, toner, moisturizer & SPF 15+ EVERY single day EVERY single night, minus sunblock at night, of course. Some people like to add what I call ‘bonus products’ these are your serums, eye creams, spot treatments etc. There is one exception to this- when you use Ph balanced product lines, they often forgo a toner/freshener/astringent. I’m torn about this concept. Although you’re balancing your Ph mantel ( it’s like a first line of defense for environmental protection) you’re not getting the residue removal that you get with a toner. Toners are used after your cleanser and help wipe off any left overs from your cleanser (even the best ones do it, trust me) and some people don’t cleanse well enough to get all their makeup off, so toner helps there too. Personally I always use one, you should make sure you’re either using Ph balanced products or a toner.
• Do you exfoliate?
Your answer should be- YES! One-three times a week depending on your skin type and how often you receive professional treatments. This does NOT include baking soda concoctions or apricot scrubs. If you use these throw them out. Now. They’re the devil. You may also use mechanical exfoliators less (actual scrubby scrubs) if you have chemical exfoliators in your products like lactic, glycolic or salicylic acids or vitamin A derivatives like retinols. These can and will thin your skin so using abrasive mechanical scrubs isn’t the best choice.
***sidenote: mechanical vs chemical exfoliation is super simple to understand. Mechanical is you manually doing the exfoliating by using circular motions to work in an abrasive ingredient like seeds or beads. Chemical exfoliation is when you apply a solution and let it dissolve your dead skin cells. This is achieved with acids like I mentioned above.
•Do you drink enough water?
Your answer should be- yes. It’s almost always- wellllll I could be better. Be better. Get an Ulla! They’re a great little device that goes on your favorite water bottle and flashes to remind you to stay evenly hydrated throughout the day. Skin is our biggest organ and shows a lot when we aren’t hydrated. This can be zits, dark circles and even *gasp* wrinkles! Dehydration lines can, and often do, look just like the dreaded crow’s feet and nobody wants that, right? Drink your H2O!
• Are you loyal to one skin care line?
Your answer should be- yes OR you alternate between a couple GOOD & effective lines. This does not include that scrubby crap that can be picked up at the same place you buy your groceries. Some people can get away with being what I call a ‘product junky’. These are people who have the ‘best’ products from various lines. The problem with doing this is that a lot of active ingredients can cancel out other active ingredients, which leaves you with money wasted. You don’t have to spend a fortune but I can pretty much guarantee a $5 bargain bin buy isn’t going to give you radiant, healthy skin. You can get good cleansers for as low as $15 (ahem Ranch Canyon Apothecary’s cleanser).
And last but not least-
• Do you use products targeted for your skin type and concerns?
It never ceases to amaze me how clueless people can be about their skin types. Totally not being an asshole, but how did you get this far without completely ruining your skin (ok I’ve seen cases where this has happened). There are three main skin types- dry, oily, normal but there are some gray areas-
Normal: not too oily, not too dry
Combination/oily: some oily areas, some normal. Often times this is the classic T zone area oily and outer areas more normal.
Combination/dry: oily T zone with dry, flaky patches in other areas like cheeks.
Dry: tight all over, often chapped, red and flaky. Small, restricted pores.
Oily: oily all over, often shiny with enlarged pores
There are lots of other questions based on skin types. For instance, for cystic acne folks I always ask about their dairy and sugar intake. Dairy is a huge irritant when it comes to cystic acne, and even some other forms of acne. Soda is your enemy here as well. If you’re a juice drinker go for organic juices that are high in vitamin C.
Reality checks –
Just because you have acne doesn’t mean you need acne products.
Just because you’re under 30 doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about hydration to prevent wrinkles. This includes water and product hydration.
Just because your skin feels oily doesn’t mean you have oily skin. More often than not, the skin is stripped and ends up overproducing oils to compensate.
Just because you have a zit doesn’t mean you have to pick!
Use the proper products! Be diligent! Preventative work is so much easier and cheaper than trying to fix things later. If you’re unsure of what your skin type is, or what products you need… please for the love of god reach out to a professional, licensed esthetician✌️