We are fortunate to have many choices when it comes to creating an at-home skincare regime, correct?  Well, as an Esthetician, what I hear repeatedly is that there are too many choices – and it’s all too confusing! Allow me to simplify the process of picking and choosing.  First, decide if your skin is oily, dry or combination – this is skin “type”; then decide what “conditions” you would like to neutralize – acne, redness/sensitivity, dehydration, lack of elasticity, hyper-pigmentation (brown spots), or dullness.  There is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin – most people report that their skin is dry when they really mean it’s dehydrated.  Dry means that the sebaceous glands don’t produce enough sebum (oil) – pores are barely visible.  Dehydration means the skin is lacking moisture (water).  A complexion could be oily and deydrated simultaneously and often a “dry skin” product is chosen – and it causes problems – mostly blackheads, breakouts and other lesions consistent with a congested skin.  So what do we look for in a product that will respect our skin type, but counteract the undesirable conditions mentioned above?  It is helpful to know some basic ingredients and how they affect your skin.

I think by now we are aware that parabens (preservatives) and petrolatum (an emoliant that is sourced from the crude oil that makes gasoline) are not good for our skin….especially when applied daily.   It’s best to find creams that use vegetable based oils like coconut, avocado, jojoba, etc.  But, as we know, skincare has become much more sophisticated and a good line will contain ingredients that improve circulation as needed; deeply hydrate; and address all of the other concerns that we have – even though they most likely are related to internal dysfunction.  The holistic approach means treating the inside (digestion, hormones, respiration, etc.) but also treating the skin directly to have the greatest impact.

I will be outlining some of the active ingredients I look for in a line of professional products as well as products that my clients can use at home for their daily maintenance.  I always say that having Facials is important, but what you’re using on a daily basis effects your skin the most – stands to reason.

Today I would like to provide some information about one of my favorite ingredients – hyaluronic acid (HA).  This ingredient is best when derived from plant sources.  It is considered to be a “humectant” meaning that it draws moisture to itself.  It is generally found in hydrating mists, serums, masks and moisturizers.  It has the capacity to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so one could see why it would be used for a dehydrated skin condition (which I would estimate includes 95% of all people livingin dry climates).  The trick to using it successfully is to apply the product containing this active ingredient on skin that is very moist – except, of course, if it is in itself a mist.  If a serum, mask or cream containing HA is applied to a skin that has not been previously moistened, it will pull moisture from the dermis (the deeper live tissue) towards the surface, thus creating deep dehydration.  But that can be completely avoided if it’s used properly.  My advice – apply a serum and/or cream directly over skin that has been moistened with a mist containing this active ingredient or moisten your skin with purified water, then proceed with your serum and cream containing HA (or both).  It’s great for daily use in the morning, but also at night if you feel particularly dehydrated.  Since it does gather moisture, do not apply to the eye area before bedtime to avoid developing any potential “eye bags”, but use it liberally elsewhere.

Remember to hydrate your body by drinking plenty of pure (alkaline) water.  How much is right for you?  Half of your total body weight = the amount of ounces you should drink daily (but increase if you perspire more than an averge amount).

I look forward to sharing more info regarding skincare ingredients/products that make a difference – come back and visit!