Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Skin Myths

I’ve made it a personal task to ask everyone I know what they think they know about skin, and skincare that there are a lot of misconceptions out there being told by god knows who.
These are the ten that were mentioned the most, hopefully this list will be able to clear up some confusion.

1)   “Skin Breaths.” It most certainly does not. Each pore doesn’t have its own individual muscle that allows it to take a whiff of our standard pollution. Its nourishment comes from the oxygen you take in through your lungs that’s delivered to it by blood. So when you take off that heavy foundation and sigh “Ahh! Now my skin can breathe,” it’s not really true.
2)   “Soap is a good enough cleanser for my face.” Washing your face with soap does feel like a good cleanse, but actually it cleans a bit too much. Soap is very harsh and stripping, this makes the skin vulnerable to anything, and everything until it attempts to restore its pH balance which does take it a while. Soap is best kept away from your face.
3)   “My skin is dry.” There’s a huge difference between your skin being actually dry, and dehydrated. Think of it this way. Dry Skin = Lack of oil. Dehydrated Skin = Lack of water. You can’t be both oily, and dry, you can be oily and dehydrated. Your skin either produces too much oil, just enough, or not at all. Treating actually dry skin requires you to use a lot of moisturizer, treating dehydrated skin would require you to exfoliate (or scrub) your face to get the dead skin off and giving skin the ability to retain water again.
4)   “Sitting in the sun will treat my acne.” No. Sitting in the sun will hide the appearance of acne, but will also lead to hyper pigmentation, skin damage, and excessive drying that will signal the skin to produce more oil therefore screwing you over and making more acne for you to “treat” in the sun.
5)   “I don’t like using ‘chemicals’ on my face.” I think by chemicals you mean preservatives? Which are not bad at all for your face, in fact they prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other little creatures that are willing to crawl right into your fabulous pores and well, you know how that goes.
6)   “Scrubbing my skin will clear my acne.” Hmm. Scrubbing is very harsh and will force your skin to make more oil = more acne. If you do have an acne problem scrubbing is the last thing you would ever want to do, try a more mild form of cleansing to prevent causing more damage and irritation to your skin.
7)   “I know my cleanser is working because my skin feels tingly when I wash it.” Your face feels tingly because it’s irritated and probably inflamed. These “tingly” cleansers breakdown the collagen in your face, so you will age faster and slow down your skin’s ability to heal. No more tingly cleansing, please.
8)   “I’m too young to care about aging.” You’re never too young to care about aging. Aging is easier prevented than treated. Preventing a wrinkle is SO much easier (and cheaper) than erasing them. Don’t shy away from the wrinkle care and jump on that wagon before you need Botox.
9)   “I don’t need moisturizer, I have oily skin.” I don’t know what it is about moisturizer and oily skin that have people imaging the moisturizer as the oil monster jumping around on your skin. If you find the right moisturizer for you, you won’t need to worry about looking sticky. Just look for products that says “Oil Free” on the bottle, they exist.
10)                Last and certainly not least, my personal favorite. “I don’t need to use sunscreen.” Please refer to my last post “The Importance of Sunscreen.”

Which one of these ten did you believe in?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Discovering Your Skin Type

Sometimes the toughest thing to do is to distinguish between what your skin likes from its dislikes. It’s also a bit puzzling when you attempt to ask people for guidance on how to handle your skin and they turn around and ask you what your skin type is. “My skin type? It’s my skin.” Well, there’s definitely more to it than that.

This guide will help you find your skin type. Knowing your skin type will open a small window of hope and give you the power to control your skin.

Oily Skin:

Oily skin is shiny skin, it has large pores therefore is more prone to blackheads and breakouts. The good news about oily skin is that it ages slower, the oils on your face keep wrinkles from forming the way they would on someone with dry skin. So sure you're stuck with blackheads forever, but you won't have to cry over blackheads AND wrinkles. The key to handling your skin type is to slow down the oil production, and prevent your pores from clogging. That’s also known as washing your face properly, and using moisturizer afterwards so your skin doesn’t feel compelled to compensate its loss of oils by making more oils.

Combination Skin:

Combination skin? What is that? It literally means that you could either have a combination of heaven and hell, or hell and hell, but never heaven and heaven on your face. While some places have a tendency to get oily (usually the T Zone, or the Nose-Forehead area) other places might be normal (Heaven), and/or dry (Hell). Having this kind of skin gets very tricky. You'll pretty much get fed up trying to satisfy all your skin's preferences before you realize that one product can't fix all your problems and that you'll have to go the extra mile. The key is finding the perfect balance of oil control without drying the already dry parts of your face, and keeping the dry parts moist without over moisturizing the oily parts of your face. Sounds complicated? Use products that are not extreme Yin or Yang in the skincare line, find the mild option to both.

Normal Skin:

You have no rights. Your face has no reason to suffer. You have no excess oil production, and no dry, tight painful skin that's sensitive to everything it touches. BUT, that doesn’t mean you get to neglect your skin. Caring for your particular skin type is as easy as, well, easy. There’s nothing you can’t use on your face, everything works for you and leaves no destruction in its wake. Do beware though, skin has a tendency to change type as you age, so do your best to maintain whatever control you have over it.

Dry Skin:

Dry skin feels tight, especially after cleansing. You have a tendency to develop fine lines, wrinkles, flaking and red patches. On the bright side, no acne to deal with. And if you do have acne it’s because your skin is irritated, not a sign to use products for acne prone skin, that will do nothing but make your "acne" worse, and your skin even more dry than it already is. Dry skin requires extremely careful care, you need extra moisturizing everything, from a moisturizing cleanser to moisturizing make up. If you can maintain your skin’s moisture nothing will ever bother you, doing that alone will slowly take the sensitivity, and "acne" if you have it (which you don't, like I said, irritation) away. The key of course is dedication and persistence. Just because you have one good face day doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t bring a little surprise that you’ll be cursing the cows over.

Don’t let your skin condition control you, do what it takes to control it. Hoping this was to your benefit.

Good Luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Importance of Sun Screen

It’s come to my attention that almost everyone I know has a personal vendetta against wearing sunscreen. No matter how many times I attempt to convince them that it’s actually really important to have and use religiously, they brush me off. 

Sunscreen, also known as SPF, or sun protection factor is one of THE most important parts of a skincare routine. Reflecting on my latest SPF conversation, I got, “But who uses that shit anyway?” Umm, YOU should. “But I want to tan!” You can still tan with SPF on! It was a battle. And I still failed to convince the person to use sunscreen, and therefore decided to take it to the internet.
Did you know that the sun is one of the main factors of aging? All those wrinkles you don’t want to have are mostly caused by sun exposure. And of course we can’t forget about good old skin cancer. The acne scars that won’t go away? The sun makes them worse! 
The sun is your enemy! RAWR! No really, it is.
SPF is your liberator, and comes it in all sorts of different numbers, from 15 to 100. But what do the numbers signify? Let’s say it takes your skin around 20 minutes to get burned, then wearing SPF 15 should be able to increase that time (multiplied by 15) to five hours (just an estimate, not a set number). There are also percentages to how much SPF (15-100) filter out the UVB rays. If SPF 15 can do 93%, then 30 can do 97%, and 50 can do 98% and so on.
“So I can wear SPF 15 and be fine the whole time I’m out, right?” No. The downfall of this is that SPF doesn’t hold up more than two hours before you would need to reapply it. Sweat and heat will probably melt it off your face in less than two hours.
“So what should I do?” I believe that anything higher than SPF 50 is full of shit because you can never get to 100% filtration, and it’s also the last number on the scale that won’t make you whiter than Casper the ghost himself, so using that on your face and neck at least every morning before you go out will efficiently protect you.
As an ending note, the following list debunks the bullshit everyone believes about sunscreen.
1.   Wearing sunscreen won’t cause vitamin D deficiency.
2.   It’s cloudy, I don’t need to wear sunscreen - Yes you do!
3.  It’s too late to do anything about sunscreen now - well, better late than never.

Good Luck!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ingredients For Your Skin Type

There are too many products on the market and let’s face it, I doubt most people know what does what for which type of skin. If you ever go through the beauty section of any given store to find a weirdo sitting in the middle of the floor reading labels you’ve come across me. I believe that once you’ve mastered the general idea of what you’re looking for in your products you’ll never have a bad skin day ever again.

If you have dry skin you’ll see that your skin is low on moisture and oil. I would guess that a few of the things that cause your skin’s dryness is using water that’s too hot when you wash your face, or using a cleanser that’s too harsh. There’s also the chance that you get dry skin in the winter only which would be the effect of the cold dry wind against your skin. Sometimes you might even have “acne” or more like, irritation. People with dry skin will never have acne because the oil glands don’t produce enough oil to clog the pores, so that, is unquestionably irritation. It could be from a product you’re using, lack of sunscreen, or the most common lack of moisture that’s causing it.
Your main concern should be how to hydrate your skin and nothing else until it’s no longer rough. You want to look for Hyaluronic Acid in the ingredients for the deepest form of moisture. There’s also Lactic Acid, Glycerin, and Petroleum Jelly. You should definitely avoid anything with alcohol in it since it’s very drying. Check your cleanser, toner, and moisturizer for any ingredient that ends with –ohol. You should also try using oils for moisture like Argan, Coconut, Olive, and Jojoba. Don’t go making the mistake of thinking that Tea Tree Oil is good for your skin, that’s the one oil I will advise you against, it’s actually for oily skin. And last but not least try to exfoliate once a week to clear away the dry flakes and help bring out the newer, healthier skin underneath.

If you have oily skin, you’ll be a walking disco ball. Your skin produces more than the normal amount of oil, your make up slides off your face, and you have a higher chance of getting a breakout than having a good face day. For that I recommend clay based products which have a tendency to suck out the oil from your skin, the downside is people will generally fail to find the balance between sucking out the oil and maintaining the moisture. I honestly don’t think you need to use anything beyond clay based products, and I’ll tell you why. Over drying your skin will do absolutely nothing for you. Using something with Salicylic Acid, or Benzoyl Peroxide when you have no active acne on your face is definitely not something you should do. You’ll find that the oil in your skin is disappearing, you’ll be happy and suddenly an acne shit storm will hit you, you won’t be able to control it. It’ll be your skin’s natural reaction to having all the oils dried out the way they would if you use either one of those ingredients with no acne on your face. Don’t do that to yourself. Too much of anything is bad for you, always keep that in mind when you’re taking care of your face. Too much oil is bad, too dry is equally bad.
You can also look for something like Silica that will be good because it’s found in clay, there’s also Potassium Hydroxide which indicates a gentle cleanser that is water soluble. Rose Mary, Tea Tree and Witch Hazel will also curb the oil production, but remember less is more. You also definitely need a good moisturizer, and don’t you dare believe that having oily skin means you can’t use a moisturizer that will be the biggest mistake of your life. Find moisturizers with Hyaluronic Acid, Dimethicone, Glycerin, and Alpha Hydroxy Acids. If you don’t want the hassle of looking for those ingredients then the easiest moisturizer would be Aloe Vera, but chances are it won’t be enough in the winter. Last, but not least you should exfoliate 2 to 3 times a week in the effort of keeping your pores unclogged so you don’t get acne.

Acne Prone Skin:
If you have acne, I’m sorry. It’s the worst thing in the world, you feel like your skin is conspiring against you, almost everything you do to make it go away feels like it makes it worse, and you practically gave up on products. I have good news, I had acne before too and the best part is it does go away. You need to be super careful when dealing with your skin for very obvious reasons. Things you definitely need to avoid are scrubs because it does in fact make it worse, and the very obvious picking at your pimples. I’ve learned throughout my acne experience that using my acne products on my whole face when my whole face doesn’t have acne is a big mistake. It makes the acne spread, it’s not the best solution that’s for sure. The real solution is spot treatment. I SWEAR by this. You’ll find them in every beauty section, they’re small tiny containers that seem like a waste of money. They’re not. Benzoyl Peroxide, and Salicylic Acid. Not the cleansers mind you, the spot treatments.
Salicylic Acid Uses: This is for the pimples that have a white head. They’ve already surfaced and need to dry before fading away. This will help them dry out. But again, use this ONLY on the active pimples, not on your whole face otherwise you’ll be peeling like a sun burnt tanner in the summer heat.
Benzoyl Peroxide Uses: This is for the pimples under your skin, those painful red ones that feel like an alien trying to penetrate through your face. You use it, again, ONLY on the pimpled area. You’ll find that it will either help it surface faster, or never come out. It really depends, it’s never going to be the same result for every pimple.
As for moisturizer, you’ll definitely need something light like a gel that says oil free on it so it doesn’t aggravate your acne. Again, don’t scrub with active acne on your face. When you’ve treated all your acne, revert to the Oily Skin section for ingredient reference. Yes, you have oily skin for sure.

Everything in skincare is so much easier when you understand what does what, and what to use on your face and when. Be smart with your choices, assess your skin and try to figure out what’s the best thing for you. No one will know your skin better than you, always remember that.
Good Luck 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Serums, Spot Treatments, and Essence


We all have skin issues, it's normal. The key is to pinpoint the problems and treating them accordingly. As a follow up for my Instagram #7DaysOfSkinCare post ( here's a breakdown for each product in this picture.

1) Clinique Acne Solutions: Emergency Gel Lotion (Benzoyl Peroxide): This is for the pimples under your skin, those painful red ones that feel like an alien trying to penetrate through your face. You use it ONLY on the pimpled area. You’ll find that it will either help it surface faster, or never come out. It really depends, it’s never going to be the same result for every pimple. It also cuts down it's longevity by at least half. Just don't pick at your pimples please. 

2) Clinique Acne Solutions: Clearing Gel (Salicylic Acid): This is for the pimples that have a white head. They’ve already surfaced and need to dry before fading away. This will help them dry out. But again, use this ONLY on the active pimples, not on your whole face otherwise you’ll be peeling like a sun burnt tanner in the summer heat.

3) Estee Lauder Perfectionist: This is something I steal from my mum because if I buy it for myself then I'll develop a new obsession that I'm just not ready for, it's for wrinkle treatment. I have an OCD with the fine lines around my eyes, so I take some and use it around my crow's feet, and smile lines. I'm a firm believer in early wrinkle prevention. It's called Anti-Wrinkle care, not fix your wrinkles care. These products are not meant to fix anything, it's basic prevention.

4) Missha Time Revolution Night Repair: This is my Retinol. Estee Lauder has a similar one called Advanced Night Repair, but when I compared the ingredients this has a higher concentration of Vitamin A. It's meant to reverse sun damage, decrease fine lines, even skin tone, improve skin texture, tighten pores, and stimulate collagen production thus promoting cell turn over. BUT using this without sunscreen, and careful knowledge will age your skin, and damage it more. It's not something to be taken lightly. Don't EVER use it in the morning, like it says NIGHT REPAIR. If you can't force yourself to use sunscreen EVERY morning no matter what the weather is like then stay away from all forms of Retinol.

5) Benton's Snail Bee High Content Essence: I have a serious love love relationship with this product. I even dedicated a post just for it. It has Snail Mucin which is known for slowing down hyper pigmentation, wrinkle formation, and reduces the chances of your skin scarring when you have that one pimple that came out of no where but is super red and angry looking. It also has Bee Venom which pretty much tricks your skin into believing you've been stung by a bee, and rushes the blood right to your face producing collagen and elastin, therefore making your skin plumpy, AKA reducing lines and wrinkles. It also speeds up the healing of any acne you might have. There is EGF, also known as Epidermal Growth Factor. It's a fancy term for a cell growth simulator. And Arbutin! Arbutin is a skin lightener. Not Michael Jackson Style. It pretty much lightens your hyper pigmentation scars. And last but not least Adenosine which is an anti inflammatory.

6) Nature Republic Original Power Hydro Ampoule: This is a serum version of hyaluronic acid creams, so it's so much easier to absorb making it more likely to hydrate the skin from deep within. So when my skin is suffering from dryness this is something I turn to for a deeper moisturizing.

7) Vichy Normaderm Night: This is supposed to slow down oil production at night, and tighten the pores. So for those super oily days during the hormonal rage, this is the product for you.

8) Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus: I love this stuff! My mum says I don't need it but I have moments when I just over scrub my face, or pick at my skin in irritation and stress. As soon as my face gets red I run to this. Because if I use this at night while my skin is pissed me I wake up with skin that's happy. I can't even explain the magical sensation of rubbing this onto the skin. It's like velvet.

9) Evening Primrose Oil: This is supposed to be swallowed, but I don't do that. Instead I cut open the capsule and rub it all over my face. It's the perfect moisturizer for inflamed skin because it treats that too. Despite popular belief, oil moisturizers do not clog pores. If you're pores are clogged then you're not washing your face properly and that's that.

10) Estee Lauder Idealist: I bought this to treat my dark spots and it did absolutely nothing for me. I use it under my foundation to blur the darkness, and that's pretty much what it does, so to me it's a form of make up not skincare. My mum likes this though. So it all depends on your skin.

I believe that knowing the ingredients for your skincare is the best thing you can do for yourself because that's the only way to know if the product is right for you, or if it's not. Don't be scared to test things out either. Testing is the means for finding.

Good Luck.