I absolutely love educating people on their skin and needs, although sometimes it really surprises me when many clients and friends have no idea what they should be doing and using at home to take care of their skin. I’ve been avoiding this post for a minute now just because there’s so much information that I couldn’t imagine breaking it down into something short (which is usually more desirable to read, sorry). However, it’s more important to me that you really get something out of this one, so ergo, a long post…
First off, the 2 most important (no matter your skin type) things you should be doing every single day is 1. drinking a substantial amount of water and 2. wearing sunscreen. I tell all of my clients, “You could be using the best products, getting the best treatments regularly, but if you’re not drinking a lot of water and wearing sunscreen every day, you’re wasting your money.” In other words, if you’re not doing this everyday, everything else is pretty much pointless. If you have questions about sunscreen, I highly recommend you read this post I wrote last month, which will probably answer most of them.
A little bit of science for you….
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, which makes up almost 15% of our body weight. You have to understand that your skin is an organ just like your heart, lungs and liver before you can take the next step in understanding your skin and it’s needs. Our body is made up of an average of 60% water and requires it to survive. Although you could possibly go weeks without food, it would be close to impossible to go a week without water without perishing. Every organ in our body needs a solid amount of water in order to function properly or else it won’t. The reason we have to drink sooo much water in order for our skin to benefit, is because our skin is the outermost organ in our body therefore it’s the last place water is received. If our skin doesn’t obtain water, it will not function properly….it will not do what you think it should do or want it to do. It won’t excrete wastes, heal and repair properly, protect you from infectious organisms, generate good cell-turnover (exfoliate itself) and so much more. Your skin protects all your other organs, regulates temperate, acts as a receptor for touch, pain, pressure, heat and cold. If you aren’t drinking at least 100oz. a day, most likely your skin is dehydrated. I wrote all about combating dehydration in this post.
Phew. I summed that up as well as possible. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge advocate of wearing sunscreen and drinking lots of water. Now, for at home, I recommend keeping it simple. Here’s the steps you should take depending on your skin type….
Oily/Combo: Use a water-based cleanser followed by some type of water-based serum with antioxidants or hydrating properties. If you are prone to breaking out, look for products with small doses of salicylic or lactic acid. When you apply the serum, wait about 30 seconds for it to dry, then apply a thin layer of an oil-free moisturizer with an SPF of 30-50.
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: Use an oil-based cleanser followed by some type of serum with antioxidants or hydrating properties. If your skin is really dry, look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. If you’re sensitive, an oil-based serum with calming ingredients like lavender or calendula would be great for you. Apply serum, let dry for 30 seconds and proceed with a moisturizer with an SPF of 30-50.
Throughout the day…
Apply a hydrating mist/toner to obtain more water in your skin. I like this one. You also want to re-apply sunscreen around 2/3pm. Obviously we don’t want to apply another moisturizer mid-day, so this Makeup Setting Spray by Coola has an SPF of 30, which is perfect. Other skincare companies are catching on to this, so be on the lookout for other great options.
Oily/Combo: Use a water-based cleanser followed by a treatment serum, such as one with Vitamin A (retin-A) in it. If you’re wearing makeup, don’t forget to double-cleanse! Feel free to some type of GENTLE scrub, nothing too abrasive or else you’ll create tiny, microscopic tears in your skin (that you may not see, but I can see under my mag-lamp!). This will help break down more dirt and oil that is building up in your pores and could lead to a break out. If you are acne prone, look for a serum containing ingredients that kill bacteria, such as tea tree oil. Aways top off with an oil-free moisturizer.
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: Use a moisturizing cleanser followed by a treatment serum packed with hyaluronic acid or my personal favorite, glycolic acid. If your skin is mature, you should use a serum containing retinol, 2 or 3 times per week. Retinol helps speed up cell-turnover which reduces the appearance of any fine lines. Apply a thick moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated thru the night.
Twice per week…
In the evening, exfoliate and mask after you cleanse
Oily/Combo: After cleansing, exfoliate with a scrub that contains a higher-than-usual content of exfoliating enzymes and acids such as willow bark (salicylic), lactic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Once you’re done with this step, time to mask! Use a clay mask on areas where you have large pores, whereas this is usually caused by congestion, and a clay mask essentially “pulls” dirt and oil from the skin. I wrote a post all about clay masks and how to use them here. After you remove the mask, apply serums and moisturizers as you would any other evening.
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: After cleansing, exfoliate with hydrating, dead-skin-cell-dissolving ingredients such as glycolic and lactic acid, and fruit enzymes. Before I became a Skin Health Expert at Kate Somerville, I’d been using her ExfoliKate for years so I’m not being biased when I say I love it! For sensitive skin like myself, go for the Gentle version. If you like a little more stimulation, try the Intensive version, you’ll love. After this step, apply a cream or gel mask with hydrating and anti-aging properties. Remove, apply serum moisturizer as you would any other evening.
Get a facial!
Oily/Combo: Once every 4-6 weeks. If you’re acne prone, you may have to be strict about going every 4 weeks to rid of the congestion that causing your skin to inflame. If you do this, eventually you’ll get your skin to where you want it, and then you can just maintain from there. It seems unfair that those with oily skin do have to invest more in regular visits, but on the bright side, remember that oily skin ages the slowest! 🙂
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: If you do a great job following your at-home regimen, you can get away with going every 6-8 weeks.
Be sure to ask your esthetician lots of questions to make the most of your time and money.
Well there you have it– at home skincare in a nutshell. Feel free to ask questions about products/treatments I recommend….or anything else, I’d love to answer.