We have all heard that it's not enough to just wash your face and apply cream, but is there any truth to that? Do facials, exfoliants, and treatments really work? My answer - if you get the right one(s) and have a good esthetician, then yes! One thing we know for certain: everyone’s skin is different. Something that works for you may work for your friend Alicia, but not your friend Brooke. This has a lot to do with our own unique body chemistry and genetics. But, since I’m not a geneticist, I want to talk about what everyone should be doing to keep their skin looking fresh and radiant.
The first (and most obvious) step is to analyze your skin. Is it oily, dry, or somewhere in between? Do you have acne, blackheads, scarring, rosacea, or dark spots? Now you have to choose products that you're going to use on a daily bases to clean, treat, and moisturize your skin. And yes, oily-skinned people - I'm talking to you, too! Ok, so cleanse – you’ll need a daily cleanser that is mild enough to be able to use twice per day. Ordinary soap is not enough to get all of the debris and gunk out of your pores, and it just isn’t tailored enough to your specific skip type. An amazing ingredient for oily skin is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, meaning it gets below the skin's surface to lift away dirt and oil. A person whose skin tends to be on the drier side might want to consider using a wash containing hydrating, humectant ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid. A humectant is simply a substance that draws moisture into the skin. If you're lucky enough to have balanced skin, neither oily nor dry, then you can wash your face with anything labeled "For all skin types". I personally dislike this term because it's a little deceiving. It makes you believe that it's ok for your particular skin type when really, you should be purchasing a product specifically designed for your precise skin type.
After you have figured out which type of cleanser best suits your needs, you need to tone your skin before applying anything else. Your skin's pH is around 4.5 to 5.5 naturally. When you wash your face with something that is not the same acidity as your skin, you throw off the pH of your skin. Toner will bring your skin's pH back down to the right level - this is important in protecting the acid mantle of your skin. The acid mantle is a layer of natural oils your skin produces (sebum), fatty acids, lactic acids, and other protectors/nourishers. Its a protective layer and without it, your skin is susceptible to infection, breakouts, UV damage, dryness, and more. Witch Hazel is a common skin toner (and my personal favorite) because it's natural and effective.
The second step in your skincare routine should be the treatment of skin conditions. If you have acne, dark spots, or some other unwanted skin condition, this is where you'd apply the proper treatment. For me, this is my anti-aging step because I don't suffer from acne or have rosacea or (fill in the blank). I use my New Moon Retinol Serum here morning and night. But let's say you have acne - you might want to use something like Benzoyl Peroxide to help clear that up. If you have significant scarring or dark spots, maybe a Vitamin C serum to help treat that is the best solution for you.
Once you have treated your condition, the next step is to MOISTURIZE!!!! I can not stress the importance of moisturizer enough. It's important for ALL skin types. If you're dry, something heavier like an oil will help to keep moisture from escaping throughout the day. If you have balanced skin, then something light is ok for you to use. And to all of my oily ladies out there who avoid this step completely, if you're not moisturizing your skin daily, your skin is going to over-produce oil to make up for what it is lacking. You see, I used to be one of you! I had oily skin and cystic acne. After going to the dermatologist and getting Benzoyl peroxide that cleared up my acne, I started using a daily moisturizer for oily skin types and I have never looked back! My skin is balanced now. It produces just the right amount of oil when it needs to because I make sure it is adequately hydrated. For my ladies with combination skin, bless your hearts because you're probably so confused! You need hyaluronic acid in your life....yesterday. I am 100% here for hyaluronic acid. It's hydrating and has changed my skin since I have been using it. I specifically formulated New Moon Retinol Serum with my team of scientist to include hyaluronic acid because retinol tends to have some drying properties (depending on the strength of the solution). I am so happy I did this because my skin is just so much healthier because of it!
The final thing that you should be doing daily is applying SPF. I don't care if you use a chemical SPF or a non-chemical SPF, just please use it! According to skincancer.org, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than two people in the U.S die from it every hour. I don't know about you, but I'd like to avoid that at all costs. The easiest way to use SPF is to find a moisturizer for your skin type that has SPF as an ingredient. This way, you avoid having to remember to put it on before you leave the house. I think it goes with out saying that if you have a job where you're in the sun all day, then you need to reapply though-out the day.
On a weekly biases, you need to use a manual exfoliator. A manual exfoliator is something that has granules of a substance in it to gently remove dead skin cells and debris from the surface of your skin. We are a green company, so I would advise you to look for one with a natural exfoliant like walnut, seeds, salt, etc. It is also a good idea to use a mask weekly to treat your skin condition. Plus, who doesn't love laying in a bath tub with candles and music to put you in the mood?? Don't forget the cucumbers for your eyes :) If you're not sure what kind of mask to do, go for one that would compliment your daily treatment. So if you're oily, look for a kaolin clay mask to help reduce the oil. Or, if you're experiencing hyperpigmentation (dark spots), then go for a brightening mask.
Every month you should be seeing an esthetician to do a proper facial. They should be doing an extraction (popping zits and blackheads) and a deep exfoliation and cleanse. I understand this can get expensive so, if you can't swing it monthly, then try for every other month or so. This will help keep your pores clear and small.
Finally, every year you should see a dermatologist. You need to have a full body scan to make sure there are no cancerous growths. If any of your beauty marks or moles change shape, size or color, have them looked at by your dermatologist or primary care physician as soon as possible!