Blemish Busting 101

I find that there is one constant concern for me as an Esthetician working in this industry. I love helping you young ladies with your skin care and answering question, but I just want to state the following information once, officially, since it comes up a lot in my day-to-day.

If you are breaking out, these are first things you should consider:

Are you are using bar soap or an “acne solutions kit” either brought from a booth in the mall or even an expensive brand from the department store? Are you using a toner that is made up of alcohol, benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid? Or are you using a spot treatment that is even more aggressive & drying? Lastly, do you slather on moisturizer loaded with perfume and synthetic humectants? Acne is an imbalance, and these products all serve to throw your skin more out of whack by killing the good bacteria on your skin and by destroying your acid mantel, two components that make up the defence system of your skin, thus adding to the acne problem. Often, acne kits smell so strong and “anti-bacterial” that they would be a great kitchen floor cleaner. And synthetic moisturizers only layer on top of the skin, but provide no real nourishment or lasting moisture.

Are you covering the breakouts with thick, heavy talc-based makeup containing waxes, oils, perfume, and/or silicone? These ingredients irritate your skin, congest pores, and block oxygen from the skin, worsening the condition further. In addition, do you apply this makeup with a brush or sponge that is sitting loosely in the bottom of your purse or makeup bag that you haven't washed for weeks or even ever? I like to use the following analogy; would you use a fork and then put in your purse with old food and spit stuck on it, and just bring it out for the next meal without cleaning it first? Think about that before using the same dirty sponge or brush day after day, week after week. Reusing dirty brushes and sponges spreads bad bacteria on your face, thus adding to an acne problem.

Ok Ladies, Listen Up! If you are guilty of any of this behaviour, then some learning needs to be done. These next points are what I consider Skin Care Basics, but they are especially important if you are suffering from a breakout. Many women think that a breakout means it’s time to use more aggressive products, to “bring out the big guns” so to speak. But a breakout means that something in your internal or external environment is out of balance. If you are experiencing a breakout it is more important than ever to make sure that you are treating your body, and your skin right. When your skin's defences are down, TAKE IT EASY, and don’t try to bleach or dry up the problem, you will just make it worse. Seek a professional to help explain the situation and help with proper treatment and healing. Wash your face with a pH balanced face wash that will respect the natural environment of the surface of your skin and serve to bolster your skin’s immunity. One that is suited to clean the bacteria and balance the oil without irritating the condition further. Eminence Mineral Cleanser is, according to me, the golden standard for acne face wash. It removes excess oil, calms the skin, and does not strip it. Do not stay on the Mineral Cleanser to long, its used as medicine, when the problem is gone –stop taking the medicine. The worst mistake many people make is stripping their skin of its natural oils and good bacteria. When your skin gets stripped like that, it tries to overcompensate by producing more oil! And it will produce it faster and its not the same quality as before. The same goes for people that use cleansers that are not appropriate for their skin type, because they think using a stronger cleanser will prevent breakouts. If your cleanser takes off too much oil, your skin will react because you have removed its protection and are now allowing things in. Acne can become a circular problem of over-drying, thus leading to more breakouts.

Toner is used to condition and restore pH to your skin after cleansing by bolstering your acid mantel so that your skin’s defence stays in place. A toner is not there to strip your skin even further after it is already vulnerable from a bad cleansing. And a moisturizer should nourish, protect, and balance the skin so that it can heal quicker, and get back to defending itself against the bad bacteria causing pimples. If you are really oily, then there are the low oil options like Thermal Spring Whip Moisturizer. If you have completely destroyed your skin’s immunity with harsh acne products, you can use the Clear Skin Moisturizer with probiotics. There are even natural gel moisturizers that will still provide the needed hydration and nourishment, for the person who is scared of anything too heavy or is one of the few truly large pored oily skin type. And more moisturizing options for dry acne or the person who has dried their skin`s oil up like -Eight Greens Whip Moisturizer and Blueberry Soy Night Cream. But all you oil haters need to remember that your skin needs oil to be healthy. It needs It for protection and to stay young and supple. It is time we stop equating oil with breakouts, and dry skin with clear skin. So if you are trying to get rid of all your oil because you think that is the problem, you are fighting a losing battle and you will not like the outcome.

As for Makeup....talc is one of the main ingredients in most of the widely sold makeup lines out there. Why you ask. Well, because its cheap! So companies can make a good profit, while your skin pays a high price. Perfume is also a major irritant in products but most companies use it. Talc also happens to be an ingredient that Propionibacterium (a type of acne bacteria) can live off as food, so you are quite literally FEEDING the problem! Silicones, fillers, thickeners, and chemical preservatives are all ways to reduce the manufacturing cost of a product while manipulating the smell, appearance, and texture of what is essentially a mess of artificial ingredients that do better at stroking our egos than benefiting our skin. And don't be fooled by expensive brand names. A name has absolutely nothing to do with how good a products is. The only thing that makes a product good is ingredients, ingredients, and ingredients. Many companies will use wording like “contains minerals”, or will claim it is “natural”, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t terrible other ingredients lurking in the product. The fact is, they just need 5% natural ingredients to cash in on the term. And even then, there are so many loopholes. For instance, alcohol is a “natural ingredient” if it is derived from fruits, but it is not good for your skin. If the company isn’t a reputable purveyor of natural cosmetics, then it is likely just jumping on the bandwagon of natural labeling. Quality mineral makeup is the only clean makeup option. High quality mineral makeups also act as a barrier to protect weakened skin from pollution, outside bacteria, and UV rays. When I worked as a medical esthetician, our clinic would use mineral makeup on clients who just had a laser peel to help cover and protect the vulnerable skin. I consider it the last step in a skincare regimen: cleanse, tone, moisturize, PROTECT. (Not cleanse, tone, moisturize, and then lather on chemicals, perfume, and bacteria food!). I recommend the Jane Iredale cosmetic line that will be available for retail at the end of March, 2012. This is the essential knowledge every person needs, but there is so much more information that will help you to get the skin you want. Come in and talk to me, and I will be glad to help you choose products, no matter what your concerns. But if you are committing any of the skin sins I mentioned above, you are going to get this whole lecture again!