I often experience anxiety when I linger in either the cosmetic area of a department store or the skincare section of a specialty store because I know that, oftentimes, I am viewed as a dollar sign. I do not confess that in anger or judgment, however, for I know there are always new products which much be promoted and sales goals which must be reached. Those ladies experience a tremendous amount of pressure to produce. I know because I once stood in those shoes, listened to those lectures and closed those transactions.
The truth is: I was a decent makeup artist, but I was never a superior salesperson regarding skincare because my conscience could never rest knowing I had sold someone products I was sure they didn’t actually need and oftentimes could not afford. I knew too much, thus brings me to the topic of this article.
There are a plethora of excellent skincare products available, however I challenge you to not be swayed by marketing claims alone and, instead, make educated decisions. I do not claim to have all of the answers or knowledge of every available product, however I have sold a vast amount of them, I have experimented with even more and I have witnessed only a small percentage bring about considerable results for myself and others.
In the majority of cases, it is not necessary for one to spend a fortune on their skin, however it is necessary for one to stop fighting against their own face. Regardless of your age, your skin does not need four serums, three eye creams and a drawer full of masks, peels and scrubs. Not everyone needs the same level of exfoliation, nor of moisture. Not every face responds well to the use of acids or enzymes, however the majority do.
The following is a general explanation of the difference between masks, peels and scrubs, as well as a few of my favorite products within each category. I assure you I have experimented extensively with each, and stand behind my recommendations.
Masks offer a wide variety of functions. Some decongest, some detoxify, some soothe and nurture inflamed skin, and some infuse dehydrated skin with moisture. None are powerful enough to transform your skin from “raisin” to “grape” or from “Mount Everest” to “the crystal clear waters of Saint Martin”, however many are sure to bring about excellent results with consistent use. Below are a few which have greatly impressed me:
Perricone MD Chloro Plasma Mask
I wish I did not like this mask, and I greatly hesitated to include it within this list. At $80.00 and providing only ten or so applications per jar, the price makes me uncomfortable. However, it has never ceased to astound me.
It reduces pore size and redness, while making my skin feel cleaner than it has ever felt before. Most importantly, it causes my skin to appear as bouncy and plump as it did in my days of wearing braces. Strangest of all, and though I chase the words to explain exactly what I mean, it causes my skin to appear as though I’ve had more sleep. I can’t quite define it, but it just makes my skin appear much brighter and happier overall. It is nurturing, but not necessarily moisturizing.
PUR Minerals Dirty Girl Detoxifying Clay Mask
If you have a “strawberry” nose full of blackheads, or simply facial skin which is extremely congested from the residual use of heavy makeup, this product will shock you. Mix it with some water, a splash of apple cider vinegar and be amazed. Although there are a variety of clay masks on the market, this has proven to be my favorite of the many I’ve tried.
Do not overuse this mask during the winter months, and please always follow with moisture. It is not appropriate for especially dry skin types.
Acid and fruit enzyme peels do wonders for removing dead skin cells, brightening, decongesting, reducing sun damage and, in some cases, increasing collagen production. If your skin is plagued with the visual effects of sun abuse, hyper-pigmentation or a troubling case of acne, a peel is oftentimes the most aggressive and transformative at-home approach. Anytime I wish to change my skin, I know I can count on the use of acids.
A Brief Lesson on Types of Skin Acid Peels:
Fruit Enzyme – This peel contains a blend of natural fruit ingredients which are brilliant at dissolving dead skin cells and promoting cellular renewal. They do not actually cause the skin to “peel”, but actually break down proteins found in the skin, thereby making it feel much smoother and softer immediately. Fruit enzyme peels are great alternated with glycolic and other acids.
Glycolic acid – This alpha hydroxy acid is made from sugar cane and is ideal for reducing fine lines and smoothing texture.
Lactic acid – This alpha hydroxy acid is more moisturizing than others, as well as much less irritating. However, it is derived from dairy, so beware if you have an allergy to such. It is most exceptional at reducing sun damage and hyper-pigmentation. If sun damage is your concern, consider this. I once witnessed a middle-aged lady greatly reduce sun spots on her hands from aggressive and consistent use of lactic acid alone.
Mandelic acid – This is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid derived from bitter almonds, so if you have a nut allergy, beware. It works well for reducing mild-to-moderate acne in sensitive skins, as well as reducing early sun damage.
Salicylic acid – This beta hydroxy acid is exceptional for treating advanced cases of acne, rosacea and oily skin conditions.
Note: Always begin with the gentlest peels. If you have never experimented with acids prior and your skin is sensitive, I do not recommend beginning with a peel. Rather, there are a variety of cleansers, toners and creams containing a gentle level of acids which make a great introduction to them. Once your skin is accustomed to the use of acids, you are ready to advance to an actual acid peel.
Arcona The Solution
Each of my most faithful readers are already aware of my devotion to this miracle in a tiny bottle. Yes, miracle. I consider it a gentle overnight peel which employs the benefits of glycolic and amino acids. Apply it before bed and awaken with a face as clear and smooth as glass, regardless of skin type. Just be sure to not overuse it, starting with no more than two to three nights per week.
MUAC Radiance Peel
Containing a blend of mandelic and fruit acids, this is my “go-to” each time I desire to make aggressive improvements to my skin. It clears, decongests, resurfaces and re-texturizes every time. Most notably, it provides my skin with an indescribable “lit from within” appearance.
I must warn you, however: This is not to be used for up to three days prior to an event, date, special occasion, photo shoot, etc. The majority of individuals will experience some level of redness, peeling and flaking after each use. I always do. Oftentimes the side effects occur 24 to 48 hours after use, and subside with a few days.
Scrubs are incredible for smoothing texture and reducing flakiness. Below are my two favorite products within this category:
Skin Obsession Microdermabrasion Crystals
These crystals provide one of the most re-texturizing effects I’ve ever witnessed. I only recently discovered this product, however it trumps every other micro-dermabrasion scrub I’ve used prior; including the ones I have long been devoted to. This product is non-irritating, yet removes even the most stubborn flakiness with ease. It truly polishes any roughness away, and my makeup always glides across my face much more smoothly the following day.
If you have texture issues or mild scarring, I highly recommend alternating this product with an acid peel suited for your skin’s overall needs. It is fairly intense, therefore I do not recommend it for those of you who are especially sensitive.
Sage Goddess Pumpkin Pie Gem-Infused Exfoliant Scrub
The first time I washed my face with this scrub, I stood wide-eyed and speechless in front of my bathroom mirror for almost a minute before demanding of my own reflection, “What is in this freaking stuff?” It smells like pumpkin pie heaven, eradicates every annoying flake and provides a thin veil of moisture. There is little-to-no risk of irritation.
It is suitable and gentle enough for the face as well as the body. You will never obtain such an organically rosy glow elsewhere, and the sensory experience alone is worth the purchase.
©TheDailyDoll.com / Lacey Johnson 2015
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