Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Skin Care Breakdown

I got a question today asking me why people use toner. I knew immediately that I had to do a whole post on skin care! There are so many important parts to skin care so I'm going to break it all down for you today! I'm going to talk about the different steps that should be in yous daily skin care regimen, why we need them, and what they do. I'll also talk about the ingredients you should look for in skin care and which ones to make sure aren't in yours! I will then direct you to my favorite skin care lines for different skin types.

Daily Skin Care Regimen
You daily skin care regimen should include five things at least! Here are what those five things are (and an optional sixth) and what they do for your skin and why they are so important! 

1- Cleanser 
Cleanser is pretty self explanatory, it cleans your face. It will get rid of all of the surface dirt and oils on your skin. But what most people don't realize is that cleanser also raises the pH of your skin. It does this so the pours will open a little wider for step 2.

2- Exfoliant
A good exfoliant helps to get into pours and clean out clogs. It will also scrub away the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. There are both physical and chemical exfoliants out there. Chemical exfoliants are generally best for most skin types, although most people find physical exfoliant (like scrubs) to be more relaxing.

3- Toner 
Toner is SUPER important! People always overlook and skip this step, and if you are one of the stop! Toner will first of all help balance your skins pH back to normal. It will also dry out your skin, which kills any bacteria or left over oils from the exfoliant. It will also go down into the open pores and kill the live bacteria that could cause clogs and infections. These bacteria form when dirt and dead skin build up in a pore. The bacteria forms using moisture for the oils in your skin and they kind of camp out under all of that yucky buildup. The exfoliant will get rid of the buildup and then the toner kills the bacteria and closes the pore. 

4- Moisturizer
Toner does a lot of great things, but it does one really bad thing too, it dries out your skin. After you use a toner you need to moisturize! Use a high quality moisturizer to hydrate your skin back to life! 

5- Sunscreen
People always overlook facial sunscreen as an important part of skin care, but it is probably the most important step. %60-%80 of all skin damage including aging and spotting is done due to sun damage on the skin. Those who do not use a good facial sun screen will age up to 3X faster than someone who does. And for all of those thinking "I use sun screen in the summer" you need it in the winter too! The only time you don't is in fog and rain. If you live somewhere it snows (like me) it is even more important. The sun reflects off the snow and will hit your skin a lot harder! Make sure you are using a facial sunscreen that is broad spectrum with an SPF of at least 30

6- (optional) Anti-Aging Serum
A good anti aging serum will help tighten and brighten your skin. But it will also prevent signs of aging. It is so much less expensive to prevent aging than to repair it. I honestly suggest all women 16 and older use an anti aging serum. That may sound crazy but the younger you make it a habit, the more effective it will be. And most women begin to show signs of aging as young as 18. 

Using quality skin care is important, but it doesn't matter how high end it is unless you use it properly. So here are some important skin care rules to remeber and follow!

  • Don't over moisturize your skin
  • Don't over wash your skin, it can be just as damaging as never washing it at all
  • Use your full skin care regimen once a day
  • Don't use your full skin care regimen more than once a day
  • Use them in the proper order

What is the proper order you wonder? Well here is yet another list! But I will also include the time of day that it is best for you to do these things. 

wash face with water only

Anti-Aging Serum

It's important for us to read labels on our food right? I mean there are ingrediants that most people look out for like High Fructose Corn Syrup and for me Coconut (not my personal favorite flavor). So why aren't we looking at the labels of things we put on our skin? The answer is, we should be. Here are 2 lists of ingredients to look out for on you labels! 

cleansers and exfoliants
Salicylic Acid - this is the best chemical exfoliant safe for at home use
Retinol - Another amazing safe for at home use chemical exfoliant. 
Citric Acid - A mild and common chemical exfoliant 

Alcohol - this should be listed within the first 2 ingredients
Salicylic Acid - not necessary for a toner, but a nice bonus
Eucalyptus Leaf Oil - This will sooth the skin so that the toner is kept under control and doesn't damage the skin. It basically keeps the alcohol in check. 

Water - This should be listed within the first 2 ingredients

Dimethicone - This is the only filler product that is acceptable in a moisturizer! That is because it is the only filler product that also helps your skin. It will fill in unevenness and fine lines as well as wrinkles. 

Glycerin - This should be listed withing the first 3 ingredients. It is a humectant that works by capturing the moisture in water and then delivering it into your skin. 

cleaners, exfoliants, and toners
Synthetic Fragrances - it's not needed, and the oils used in synthetic fragrances can clog pores and can even effect your hormone balances. 
Parabens - These are frequently found in drug-store skin care. They are used to preserve other ingredients and extend shelf life, but they also have hormone disrupting effects. 
Wax - Any kind of wax ( although micocrystalline wax is the most common) is not good for your skin. It can suffocate your skin and weigh it down, and it is a filler product that you don't want on you skin! 
Apricot Seeds - You know that apricot scrub you love so much? Go throw it out! Apricot scrubs are made by taking apricot seeds and crushing them into little sand like pieces. They have a rough unrefined edges that can (and usually does) create micro fissures in the skin and can irritate it or create more acne.  They can also cause dark spots and other premature signs of aging. Instead use scrubs with gel beads in them.  

Oil- Oil is a big no-no in moisturizers. If you take a raisin and you put it in a jar of oil what will happen? Nothing. But you put a raisin in a jar of water it will start to rehydrate a little. The secret ot skin hydration isn't oil it is water! Most moisturizers have a little water in them but if it isn't in the first 2 ingredients than it is not  a good moisturizer. And you never want to put oil on your face. That is why I NEVER use or recommend Olay products! Almost all of them are chalked full of oils. 

Product Recommendations 

For those with clear skin who want to maintain it and keep it healthy:
Mary Kay Timewise Miracle Set
It comes with a 3-in-1 Cleaner that cleanses, exfoliates and tones all in one step! This is for the girl who has the usual zit or two every now and then and want to maintain her healthy skin and prevent aging. Because of this you don't need a dramatic 3 step application, and gentle cleansing with a light exfoliator to remove dead skin without changing your skins pH is just fine.  It also comes with a great Moisturizer, Broad Spectrum Facial Sunscreen with a SPF of 35 and a Night Solution Anti Aging Serum. The whole set should last you 5-8 months and costs $90

For those who want to fight acne and clear their skin:
Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System
I love this system (it's the one I use!) because it has everything you need! I comes with a cleansing chemical exfoliant, a toner, a moisturizer and a acne spot treatment gel that has benzoyl peroxide in it! This set is affordable and works wonders! A set should last you 4-7 months and costs $45

For those who have advanced signs of aging and are trying to get their youthful skin back
Mary Kay Timewise Repair Volufirm Set
This set comes with a foaming cleanser, a lifting serum, a broad spectrum day cream with SPF 30, a night treatment with retinol,  and an eye renewal cream. This whole set is designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, lift the contours of the face, even skin tone and restore moisture lost in aging. Because this is for someone who has advanced signs of aging, we don't want to exfoliate aging skin, because it is more delicate. We also want to make sure that is hydrated, and although this set doesn't have a moisturizer every single item in it has a lot of moisturizing ingredients! The full set is supposed to last for 5-7 months and costs $199

So here's the thing, I am not going to act like I $99 is chump change, it's not. These prices (other than the acne system) are a little much for someone who is used to Clean & Clear from Walmart.  As far as the Clear Proof Acne System, it's $45, but it comes with 4 products. that's $10 each, which isn't that much more than you do spend at Walmart. Plus these products have a much higher quality! 

As for the Miracle a Volufirm sets, have you heard of Clinque? Estee Lauder? Lancome? Because these are the high end skin care brands that have the same quality as Mary Kay. BUT these brand usually cost around 2-4 times more than Mary Kay. That is why I am such a Mary Kay fan! Plus if the products don't work or you don't enjoy them you can get a %100 refund even if you have used the whole set! Usually you have to find a Mary Kay consultant, but you can buy the products online, although I am not sure how the garuntee works with the online purchases. BUT if you go to the Mary Kay website's Beauty Consultant Finder you can find one in your area! 

***Thanks to Shelly Simons for asking this questions***