I love taking care of my skin. I love helping people take care of their skin. I love cosmetics. I love cosmetic companies.
I hate wasting money. I hate seeing people waste money. I hate skincare products that waste people's money.
As a follow up to my last post here is my list of the top three intensive skincare products that are a sheer waste of time and money. None of them are ever worth buying or using.
1. Eye Cream—the most successful marketing coup of the cosmetics industry. There is no difference between an eye cream and its corresponding face cream (maybe a fragrance is deleted but that should not be in skincare anyway). The difference between an eye cream and a face cream in the size of the jar and the price. There is no research showing the eye area needs a special cream and don't believe the sales pitch about how thin the skin is around the eye. All cosmetics work in the same layer of skin regardless of area of the body, so by simple logic a well-formulated face cream will work just fine around the eyes.
2. Serums—these "booster" products are just moisturizers without thickening agents. Essentially when you use a serum you are applying two moisturizers. Why not just get a great moisturizer with the ingredients found in the serum? Serums are a great tool for parting you from your money but they do not offer any advanced benefit over using a well formulated moisturizer. And if your moisturizer isn't working don't fall for the "serum will provide better results" pitch. Just look for a better moisturizer.
3. Night Cream—the skin does not need something drastically different at night than it does in the day. Skin always needs hydration, anti oxidant protection, exfoliation and vitamins. Day and night. Night creams are usually the same formula as their corresponding day creams with more thickening agents added to appear "richer." Using your day cream in the evening will provide just as good a result as the pricey night cream and you will have less products to keep track of.
A while ago I wrote an article called Skin Care 101. In it I talked about the benefits of basic at-home skin treatment that will keep the skin looking healthy.
It got me to thinking about what happens when basic care does not deliver all the results one may be wanting.
So many of us visit cosmetic counters, everyday, searching for more advanced formulas that can help us achieve optimal health for skin. And so often we end up with a product that does not deliver!
So here are my top 3 Advanced At-Home Skincare Products (as well as a list of my favourites in each category):
Exfoliators: These can be scrubs, or acids, or peels, or even something called gommage. It really does not matter which type you use. If your skin gets dull, thick, flaky or overly course in texture exfoliation is for you. Does everyone need to exfoliate? No. Only do this if your skin meets the criteria. Helpful hints—scrubs should be used a maximum of 3 times a week and offer the best results when used in the shower in the morning. Acids should be used on a cycle of about 21 days then not used for 90 days, they work best when pH balanced to 3 and should be worn overnight and rinsed off in the morning. Peels should be done seasonally and only under the supervision of a skin care professional. Gommage products can be used everyday as they have no grains and are designed for the most sensitive skins.
Masks: Masks can do all sorts of wonders for the skin, from intense hydration to acne control, these intensives really can deliver profound results. Choose based on specific concerns and also on season—more hydration in the winter more mattifying benefits in the summer. Also you can own more than one mask and use different ones regularly.
Technology: There are many home versions of skincare technology available today and these machines can offer quick, medical like results. From light treatment to teeth whitening to laser hair removal it can all be done at home with the same results found in a clinic, at a fraction of the costs.
My favourites (caveat: intensives are more expensive than basic skincare and as such expect to pay a slight premium for them; however because they are used infrequently they do not need to be replaced for long periods of time):
Exfoliator: Yves Saint Laurent Gommage ($75 for 75 mL) made from a combination of sugars and honey proteins this is a little known, professional quality exfoliator that can be used daily or weekly. It is so effective results are visible on the very first use.
Mask: Sisley Masque Créme à la Rose Noire ($175 for 60mL) rose oil is one of the most powerful hydrating and anti-inflammatory agents available in cosmetics. it is also one of the most expensive oils available. One litre of oil requires 10, 000 lbs of roses to be pressed. This makes using the ingredient costly. However, because so little is needed for results this mask actually is very economic. With weekly application the tube will last almost 10 months which works out to less than $18 a month to use.
Technology: TANDA Zap! ($50). My very favourite technology product. No cords, no plug ins, 5000 treatments and results are immediate. This device clears moderate acne breakout within 24 ours. I use it personally and never travel without it. When a breakout happens I simply do a three-minute treatment before bed and by morning the acne is gone.
Next time: Intensive that are a waste of money!
A recent study, published by the American Dermatologist Association, had some very staggering statistics about adult acne.
Among the many findings of the study one point stood out with me:
45% of women, aged 21-30, have some form of active acne.
It used to be that acne was a teenage skin condition yet more and more adult women are now suffering from breakout on a regular basis.
Another interesting statistic, from the study:
63% of people who sought medical remedy for acne continued using prescription-based solutions past the age of 40.
Here are my top three anti acne pointers:
1. Avoid heavy, oil based moisturizers. Acneic skin needs lots of hydration but very little lubrication. Gel-based moisturizers are a better choice because the lighter weight formulas allow the skin to regulate its water/oil balance. When the skin has a higher water content acne is less likely to occur.
2. Prevent dehydration. A very popular anti-acne solution is benzoyl peroxide. While effective at clearing acne it dehydrates the skin excessively and there are much better choices these days. Benzoyl peroxide has also been shown to allow increased free radical damage thus solving one skin care problem while causing another. A more state-of-the-art ingredient is tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine, which is a mouthful to say but is incredibly effective at treating acne without any of the dehydrating side effects of benzoyl peroxide. And you can buy it over the counter.
3. Wash without disrupting the skin's pH. While heavy detergent based cleansers will certainly make an oily acneic skin feel clean the detergents can disrupt the skin's natural pH and allow more bacteria to set in. The very act of cleaning the skin, with detergent based cleansers, will make the skin break out more. Buy a non-foaming, lotion-based cleanser and the skin will balance itself to a natural pH of 5.5, then it can effectively keep bacteria out.
Of course severe acne needs medical attention.
But for most mild to moderate outbreak simple quality skincare is sufficient to keep the skin looking clear and healthy.