Skin has many layers and many jobs:
The lipid layer keeps skin pliable and hold moisture in, acid mantle keeps healthy bacteria happy and wards off infection, beneficial bacteria keep bad bugs out, horny layer with dead skin cells are constantly falling off! The skin’s surface pH is 4.5-5.5...acidic! To keep the skin healthy you need to make sure you are nourishing all the layers and not disrupting any of them. That can lead to red, dry, blotchy or acneic skin.
1. Cleansing: (1-2x/day)
Purpose: Remove dirt, pollution. dead skin cells and excess oil from the surface of the skin to prevent clogged pores, and dullness. To prepare the skin for the next step.
Normally you would cleanse face and neck and decollate with facial cleanser. Always use your fingers to cleanse, never a brush or washcloth as they can be abrasive and harbor bacteria.
Cleansers can be powerful as well. They can contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Salicylic acids, skin brighteners, vitamins, and botanicals to help with many skin issues and fight the aging process.
2. Assessment: (at least 1x/week)
Take a look in the magnifying part of the mirror. Take note on what you see and make a plan to address it. Note if there have been any changes...good or bad in your skin. Look for dryness, fine lines, red patches, dark spots.
Tone: (can be optional)
Spraying or swiping a toner brings the skin back to its proper pH and removes any excess product. Toning should always be done after using any clay masks. Toners can contain other ingredients like lightening agents, acid exfoliants, botanicals, and antioxidants to give more power to the product.
4. Exfoliation: (1-3x/week)
Exfoliation is the removal of skin cells. Exfoliation can be accomplished by scrubbing with exfoliating substances like seeds, or even a washcloth or brush. Waxing, dermaplaning, and shaving are also forms of exfoliation. Exfoliation can also be accomplished by gently by applying products like enzymes and acids that dissolve skin cells or dissolves the “glue” that holds the cells together. Chemical peels are a form of exfoliation.
The purpose of exfoliation is to remove skin cells to encourage new cells to form. New cells are plumper and more “glow-y” and if you’ve changed your skin routine and lifestyle, the new cells can grow a more youthful appearance.
Be careful not to over-exfoliate as this can lead to red blotchy, peeling skin that is unbalanced. Remember, exfoliation is usually not a daily thing. Mechanical (scrubbing) exfoliation should only take place 2-3 x/week.
Other forms of exfoliation are waxing, dermaplaning, shaving, or scrubbing with brushes or cloths.
Optional add ins: You can turn any cleanser into an exfoliator by adding things like ground chia seeds, sugar, ground oats, or honey.
5. Extraction: (as needed)
At this point, you would extract any closed comedones (white heads) or open comedones (blackheads) using a specific technique, but we are not going to do this here. When at home, wash your face. Prepare the skin for extractions by applying moist heat for 10 minutes, or use an enzyme exfoliant as directed. Wrap your fingertips in cotton moistened with toner or witch hazel. Put one finger on each side of the blemish and press straight down and then scoop your fingers up and together slowly and deliberately. Continue this process until the white “stuff” and then blood comes out. You can also use an extractor tool.
Do NOT try this on any blemish that is swollen and painful to touch, is very red and inflamed or does not have a “head” that you can see. These are cystic acne and you could cause deep infection if you try to extract these. Use ice in circular motions around the cystic acne area for 2 full minutes twice a day. This will reduce the inflammation to the point where the dead skin, pus, and white blood cells may come to the surface. It is very important that you clean the blemish after extracting with witch hazel or toner. You can ice any blemish after extraction as well.
Massage: (at least 1x/day)
Massage is important to get the blood flowing to and from the skin to detox and bring nutrients to skin cells. Massage can also work the muscles under the skin, and certain movements can plump (temporarily)the face. It’s important to increase circulation before masking. Make sure to use a massage medium that won’t clog pores like organic marula or jojoba oil. Coconut oil is not a good for skin on the face, but is great for skin on the body.
You can also use these techniques when putting on your moisturizer in the mornings. It will give you great glow and will increase the intake of the ingredients into your skin.
Your skin reacts to what is going on inside your body. Sometimes you will get a breakout or an area of dry, irritated skin in a particular spot that can sometimes be associated with digestive, kidney or lung issues.
If you get breakouts around your mouth, it can sometimes be aggravated by toothpaste, cosmetics, certain foods, or lip balm.
Hormonal acne is often cystic which means it originates deep in the skin. If you have persistent severe cystic acne on the chin and neck along with other symptoms, you may want to be evaluated for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Mask (as needed as different masks have different use schedules)
There are dozens of different mask actions, so choose a mask that are going to treat the issues at hand. For example, if you have rosacea or irritated skin, you may need a soothing hydrating mask. If you have acne, you may need a detox anti-inflammatory mask and so on. Masks are great tools to use for intensely treating issues that arise or treating issues you are working on like dark spots or wrinkles.
avocado, chia and honey mask. Apply to entire face for 10 minutes and remove. Hydrating and nourishing. Fine for all skin types.
1/2 ripe avocado, 1 tsp ground chia seeds, 1 tsp honey. Add water or yogurt to make it creamy.
Next applied are any serums or moisture. Serums are active ingredients that have a delivery system. Facial oils are applied at this point and are very effective in providing the skin with lost vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Cream based moisturizers are applied last, as you always apply products thinnest to thickest. Make sure you work all products into skin and allow to penetrate before moving onto the next product. If you have oily or acne prone skin, you will want to look at the ingredients closely to make sure none of them clog your pores and cause more issues. (Please contact me if you want a list of pore clogging ingredients.)
vitamin C : comes in many forms. Make sure you are using Vitamin C somewhere in your routine no matter what sin type you have. Two stable forms are aminyl ascorbic phosphate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. There are others like l-ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is good as well, although less stable but effective when combined with other vitamin C forms. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, anti-aging, and plumps skin making it thicker and more resilient to the sun’s damage. Vitamin C can be tricky to use. Consult a professional when needed.
The sun’s rays are damaging to your skin on the surface and deep into the dermis.The radiation that you are exposed to causes more rapid aging, the breakdown of collagen and elastin, and an increased risk of skin cancer. A broad spectrum sunscreen is necessary to block the UVA (deep penetrating) and the UVB (burning) rays of the sun. SPF 30 is the minimum for face, neck and decollate.
Look for sunscreen that uses safe zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as sun blocks. Sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate) are irritants and hormone disruptors and are on EWG.org’s “high toxicity” list. A new sunscreen, Mexoryl SX, shows promise to be safe and effective. Other ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, and others just don’t have enough research done to say 100% that they are safe, but are fine if used in moderation.
Sunscreen is the #1 best thing you can do for your anti-aging routine!!
This is a photo of a truck driver of 28 years. The left side of his face was exposed to the drivers side window (and the sun coming through the glass) and the right side of his face was not in the sun's rays. The aging you see is only from the damaging rays of the sun...nothing else.