Cleansers, toners, serums, ampoules, exfoliants…the list goes on and on!
Nowadays, the market is saturated with different types of beauty products, all promising to work miracles. While many of these products do just as they claim to, there are many more that leave you let down when you aren’t magically 20 years younger overnight! While this is great for the beauty industry’s revenue, it leads to confusion and mistrust for the consumer!
So, where to go from here?
While there is no possible way to review every skin care product on the market, there are a few tips and tricks to help you figure out what’s what.
First off, what steps are actually necessary for good skin health?
While the exact products you’re going to use are going to vary based on what you’re trying to treat, the following is true for every single skin type.
A Good Cleanser
A good cleanser is formulated to remove dirt, excess oil, pollution, and make-up from the skin while still leaving the skin at its proper pH of around 4.7, so that the natural protective acid mantle can remain undisturbed. As a general rule of thumb, if your cleanser leaves your face feeling extremely tight, it may be too stripping. For more dry skins, a creamier cleanser is necessary so less vital oil is removed and for more oily skins a foaming cleanser.
- “But my skin is way too sensitive for a cleanser! I can only use water to wash my face!” I hear this all the time. Unfortunately this is actually only making sensitivity issues even worse! Water pH changes depending on where it comes from and in some places is more alkaline and in others more acidic, a too alkaline or too acidic water is going to have similar effects as a too harsh cleanser!
- “Humans went ages without washing their faces, it isn’t natural and is bad for you!” -Another statement estheticians face regularly when recommending home care. But what is important to remember is, our ancestors lived under very different conditions than what we currently inhabit. While it is steadily improving thanks to recent environmental efforts, our air is incredibly polluted. Water alone simply cannot remove many of these pollutants that can cause impurities in the skin. Combine that with the use of make-up (which also must be removed with a cleanser) and simply using water can be disastrous for skin health!
Recommended Products: For normal to dry skin, try a cleansing milk like Decléor Cleansing Milk. If you like a cleanser that foams a little, try DM Skin Care Botana-Gel Cleanser. For combination or oily skin try Botana-Gel or Decléor Purifying Gel.
This is one of the more commonly missed skin care products that are so vital to skin health. The skin naturally sheds dead skin cells constantly, but where do these dead skin cells go? Some skin is shed and enters the air and your environment around you, but much stays on your skin. Overtime, these dead skin cells can begin to pile up resulting in, best-case scenario, dull skin and, worst-case scenario, a breakout. While cleansing the skin removes some, it does not remove all. As long as you don’t exfoliate too often (which will disturb the skin’s protective acid mantle) exfoliating won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin. However, there are different types of exfoliants and certain ones are better than others, depending on what you’re treating and what your skin is like. They fall into two categories:
- Physical Exfoliants: physical exfoliants are the type that most people are familiar with. Using natural or synthetic abrasive ingredients, physical exfoliants remove dead skin cells through friction and then are simply washed away with water. These are good for most skin types, except for sensitive and acenic skin types. These scrubs should not be used more than 1-2 times per week!
- Chemical exfoliants: probably the most feared exfoliants, chemical exfoliants use either acids or enzymes to dissolve or eat away at the dead skin cells. Some are formulated to go deeper into the skin, past the dead skin cells, to help repair the skin but these are typically stronger peels done with either your esthetician or a dermatologist. Chemical exfoliants are thought of as being harsh on the skin, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Because they very gently dissolve the dead skin cells, they’re actually less harsh on the skin than the friction from physical scrubs. Chemical exfoliants can be used by anyone with any skin type, however certain acids are better than others for certain skin types. Depending on the delivery method, some acids are used daily while some, more intense acids should only be used 1-2 times per week.
Recommended: For a physical exfoliant, try Decléor Double Radiance Scrub or Carita Lagoon Scrub. For a chemical exfoliant, try Decléor Prolagene Lift Peeling Gel or DM Skin Care Retinyl Enzyme Treatment.
A Good Moisturizer
While most people I encounter are aware they should be using a moisturizer, most are not aware of what constitutes a good moisturizer versus a bad one- oh and there are bad ones! The first step is deciding if you need more oil or water in your moisturizer. Water based moisturizers are ideal for more oily or acenic skins that have plenty of oil, but need to replenish their water balance and oil based moisturizers are lipid rich and better for drier skins. So, yes, even the oiliest person can use a moisturizer and can actually improve their oiliness with the hydration received from one! One ingredient to watch out for is mineral oil a cheap, pore clogging-lubricating agent used in many less expensive moisturizers. Seeing this ingredient should be a red flag that it probably doesn’t contain the highest quality ingredients (although seeing it extremely far down on the list isn’t too problematic for drier skins.)
Another big skin offender to look out for is denatured alcohol, which is extremely drying and irritating to skin. Look for moisturizers high in humectants (which attract water from the dermis to the epidermis) such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It’s also worth mentioning that many moisturizers contain exfoliating acids, such as lactic and glycolic acid.
Recommended: All skin types will enjoy the hydration of Decléor Hydrafloral Cream. For combination to oily skin try DM Skin Care Dermal Renewal Gel or Decléor Shine Control Oxygenating Fluid.
Well, there it is! The basics of good skin health, not quite as confusing as you thought, right? Top all of those off with a good daily SPF and you’re on the road to beautiful skin for life. And remember, a good esthetician can advise you in what products are good for your skin in particular by looking at and feeling your skin to use their expertise to discover what your skin is longing for.
All recommended products can be purchased at Designer’s Denn Salon and Spa. Check back here soon for a post on the more advanced steps in skin care: serums, masks, and professional treatments!