Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

The Risks of Over Exfoliation December 5, 2012

Usually I can’t say enough good things about exfoliation.  In my eyes regular, at home exfoliation is one of the most essential things you need to do to maintain healthy and beautiful skin.  Depending on your skin type, how your skin is feeling and looking, and what exfoliation product you use you can exfoliate every day or just twice a week.  The thing is – you need to exfoliate.

Why exfoliate?  New Beauty explains why succinctly:

There are many benefits of regular exfoliation. As we get older, skin-cell turnover slows down and exofoliating can help speed up the normal shedding cycle. Exfoliating can rid the skin’s dull, outer layer as well as all of the flaws that reside there, like fine lines, dark spots and blemishes. Plus, your skin-care products can better penetrate your skin. Here are our top four reasons to exfoliate on a regular basis:

1. Even out skin texture. “The granules polish the skin, leaving it with a softer, smoother texture. It’s like using sandpaper on coarse, unevenly textured wood—step-by-step it becomes smooth,” says Los Angeles aesthetician Ole Henriksen.

2. Fight the signs of aging. With age, the skin’s ability to naturally exfoliate slows down. When the skin is laden with dead cells, lines, wrinkles and dryness become more apparent. “Removing dead skin reveals fresher, brighter, younger looking skin,” says Mt. Pleasant, SC, dermatologist Marguerite Germain, MD.

3. Prevent blackheads, whiteheads and breakouts. When the pores get clogged with dead skin and oil gets stuck beneath the surface, pimples can occur.

4. Minimize dark spots. Long after a blemish has healed, a red, brown or purple mark may remain. But each time you exfoliate, you’re removing the top layer of skin to diminish the appearance of discoloration.

(From Four Reasons You Need to Exfoliate)

And what are different ways you can exfoliate?  Once again I’ll turn to New Beauty to explain:

Manual Exfoliation: exfoliates with beads or spheres
This involves physically removing dead skin with scrubbing spheres or beads, which are massaged into the skin by hand. Some ingredients, like ground-up nutshells, can tear the skin and potentially cause infections, so if you choose to use a manual exfoliant, make sure that you use one with beads or spheres, which are less likely to scratch the skin.
The Upside : Quick and easy to use, manual exfoliators are available in a variety of forms and are best for normal skin types.
The Downside: May aggravate acne or sensitive skin.

Enzymatic Exfoliation: exfoliates with fruit enzymes
Ideal for sensitive and mature skin, enzymatic exfoliators contain enzymes that are derived from fruits like pineapple, pumpkin, kiwi and papaya to purge the skin of dead cells.
The Upside: Can be used on extremely sensitive or reactive skin because they tend not to irritate since there is no physical scrubbing. Plus, they’re excellent for really cleaning out clogged pores.
The Downside: “Enzymatic exfoliators take longer to work because you have to let them sit on the skin for awhile,” says Kirkland, WA, dermatologist Julie Voss, MD.

Chemical Exfoliation: exfoliates with acids
Good for acne-prone and sun-damaged skin, chemical exfoliators rely upon ingredients like alphahydroxy (AHAs), betahydroxy, lactic, malic, tartaric, salicylic, retinoic, uric or glycolic acids to break the bond between the dead skin cells, dissolving and removing them.
The Upside: Deep cleans pores, making it a good choice for oily and acne-prone skin types. Exfoliators with AHAs offer anti-aging benefits too.
The Downside: Can cause sun sensitivity and may be too irritating for dry skin. “These exfoliators are usually found in cream or lotion form, rather than being part of a cleanser, so they require an added step,” says Dr. Voss.

But sometimes too much of a good thing well is just too much.  That brings us to the risks of over exfoliation.  Go overboard with exfoliation and risk red, irritated, dry, flaky, and even thin skin.  The New York Times T Magazine article The Peel Sessions explains:

… the search for perfection often leads to just the opposite. Instead of achieving plump, soft skin, some women are winding up with visages that are “thin and kind of stretched, almost like Saran wrap,” according to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, an assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and the director of the Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center in New York. “It puckers like the material would if wrapped tightly on something and looks like if you pricked it with a pin, a clear fluid would come out.”

This is the over-exfoliated face. For the past few decades, the most dominant recipe for radiant skin has called for removing the dead layers of epidermis to reveal newer, brighter, less-wrinkled skin. But not everyone knows just how often to slough, and some women have been misled into thinking that the more often you do it, the better. Or women exfoliate constantly to ensure that anti-aging or anti-acne serums are delivered more effectively. Exfoliate too frequently, though, with chemical peels or Retin A, and you could encounter a multitude of problems: redness, a strange waxy look and, over time, the thin skin Alexiades-Armenakas described. It can look crepelike and translucent, with capillaries showing (if you’re Caucasian), and is far more prone to fine lines, not to mention increasingly vulnerable to cancer-causing UV rays, than untreated skin. For those with darker complexions, overpeeling can also cause hyper-pigmentation, which can be permanent. …

At-home treatments can have their downsides as well. Retinoids like Retin A increase skin turnover and should be used at the correct strength and frequency. “Everyone used to put it on every night — you brush your teeth, you put on your Retin A,” Enterprise recalled. “Cheeks were getting very thin and people had that glossy look. That waxy skin makes you look older and can make you look dated in the same way your hair or makeup can.”

Abuse of drugstore or beauty-emporium products is also a danger. “I’ve done R&D for a large cosmetic company, and unfortunately to launch these over-the-counter peeling agents, the rule of thumb is to recommend twice-weekly use,” Alexiades-Armenakas said. And why is that? “Because if you don’t use it that often, you’re not going to see any results. It’s so weak compared to a dermatologist’s peel, and to compensate for this they have people overuse it.”  …

Of course, disrupting that barrier at just the right rate — either by peels, Retin A, lasers or other means — is how you stimulate the skin into creating collagen. Alexiades-Armenakas is at work on a new method for doing so, testing pixelated radiofrequency technology and ultrasound to push anti-acne or anti-aging drugs into the skin. It’s another form of fractional resurfacing, whose advantage, she said, is that most of the epidermis is left intact. Eventually, according to the dermatologist, this science will make its way into an over-the-counter product, in the form of a hand-held roller.

There remains, however, the conundrum of what to do until those futuristic gadgets arrive. For now, Alexiades-Armenakas recommends relying on a much older technology — that of the body itself. “The skin turns over every 28 days,” she said. “I’m of the firm belief that you’re better off having a strong peel just once a month at most, giving the skin a chance to recover, rebound and rejuvenate itself.”

Furthermore, according to the article Exfoliation: When Is Just Enough … Enough?  by Annet King explains that exfoliation:

… a course of action intended to keep the skin vibrant, supple and youthful, may result in a skin which is more fragilehas less natural ability to protect from UV, is easily sensitized, heals more slowly and lacks in general structural fortitude. Parchment paper comes to mind.

We now know that much of what we call aging is caused by inflammation. And overly aggressive exfoliation, along with other cutaneous assault such as pollution and UV exposure, set off the cascade of dermal interactions known as inflammation.  It is very important to note that skin which is past the age of 25 or so recovers more slowly from inflammation. In fact, inflammation, whether in response to a heavy handed microdermabrasion procedure or some other inflammatory condition such as adult acne, may result in extremely persistent redness—and by persistent, we mean that it may not ever really dissipate.

The good news is, our skin is genetically designed for remarkable resilience. The human skin produces about 1,000,000 skin cells every 40 minutes, which equates to over 36 million skin cells per day. No wonder we think nothing of obliterating them with scrubs, enzymes, acids, sonic brushes and other procedures! …

Gentle exfoliation keeps the debris from accumulating. Today, the market is full of exfoliants which are gentle enough to use daily, such as superfine micropowders and precise dose leave- on serums containing silky microparticles of rice bran, phytic acid or salicylic acid, botanical extract combo’s. These lift dead cell debris, gently resurface using only the mildest bit of mechanical action, and still leave the lipid barrier robust and intact. …

Often, problems arise when clients start to “help the program along” by being over enthusiastic with different products in the confines of their bathroom or while in the gym sauna! Also discuss their comfort-level, perhaps from years in the gym with masochistic fitness trainers, many consumers believe that pain is required part of an effective regimen. This may be true of acquiring a rock-hard six-pack—but it definitely is NOT true of effective skin care.

Combining products and procedures “freestyle”, without the close supervision of a licensed therapist, is where consumers often get themselves into trouble. The trumpeting claims of lunchtime lasers and other medi-office procedures along with powerful products may prove irresistible, especially with the advance of age, and especially with the impending arrival of a pivotal life passage such as a high school reunion or a daughter’s wedding.

Lastly, another reason to stop with over exfoliating – you may be causing breakouts.  According to Allure:

Convincing people that they’re exfoliating too much “is one of my great challenges,” laughs [ Ranella] Hirsch, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. “Over-exfoliating is probably the single most significant cause of breakouts. For some reason, people think exfoliating means ‘torture my skin like it has secret government information.'” In particular, Hirsch shakes her finger at skin-care overachievers: “The person who is exfoliating too much is also putting on actives [such as Retin-A and salicylic and glycolic acid], is doing facials, is doing microdermabrasion. Each of those things on their own is good, but when you add every form of treatment together it leads to injury.”

So how can you exfoliate effectively?  Once again according to Allure:

Hirsch insists that for the most part skin knows how to exfoliate itself and says using just one exfoliator should be enough. And instead of having a set routine for how often you use your product, leave it up to your face. In other words, don’t exfoliate because it’s 7AM—exfoliate because you feel like you need to. “You have to listen to your skin,” says Hirsch. “Something that’s right at one moment can shift in real time. Just listen and adapt.”

Bottom Line:  Everyone needs to exfoliate just don’t overdo it.  Check in with your skin regularly to see if you need to adjust your exfoliation routine.  Strive for balance (I know – much easier said than done)  Experiencing breakouts and clogged pores turn to a salicylic acid product for exfoliation.  Flaky yet normal skin?  You could use a gentle scrub.  Want an effective anti-aging product?  Find the right retinol or Retin-A product for you.  Just remember – when your skin starts to feel irritated and sensitive or is constantly red you could be overdoing it.  Then it is time to reevaluate your exfoliation routine.  Keep in mind that correct exfoliation will make your skin soft, smooth, and bright.  Since everyone is different don’t look to others – figure out what your skin needs.  Check in regularly with your skin to make sure you are doing what is best for your skin.

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Teen Skincare May 10, 2012

My teenage years were the worst years for my skin.  I had terrible acne that only went away after I used Accutane for three months, and I still have acne scars on my cheeks that serve as a daily reminder of those years.  That acne eventually, years and years later, lead me to become an esthetician since I wanted to learn more about how to care for my own skin, and I wanted to be able to help others care for their skin as well.  Because of how I looked during my teen years I have a soft spot for teenagers and their skin struggles.  The teen years is the perfect time to begin learning to care for your skin, and there is no need for this care to be complicated or time-consuming.

First off, easy does it.  I find that many teenagers think that if a little bit of a skincare product or skincare ingredient is good, then a lot is even better.  That just leads to dry, irritated, and flaky skin.  A lot of the time – less is really more.  The other thing to point out is that there is no need to make every breakout a catastrophe.  I know this is really hard when you are in high school, but if there is any way to put the appearance of a pimple or two into perspective than try to do that.  Perfect skin in really unattainable – believe me.  I know one person, and this includes all my friends, clients, and acquaintances, who I would say has perfect skin.  It just doesn’t exist and that is why they invented make-up.  So try to keep the doom and gloom over how your skin looks in check.

Instead get the basics under your belt:

  • Remember that daily cleansing of your skin is essential even if you are tired at night.  Sleeping with a dirty face just contributes to breakouts and overall dull skin.  Which cleanser is right for your skin depends on if your skin is oily, combination, dry, or breakout prone.  When in doubt consult someone in the know like an esthetician.  If you really can’t be bothered to wash your face at night at the very least use a make-up remover wipe to cleanse your face a bit before going to sleep.
  • Apply a treatment serum/lotion if you need one.  Most teens will need an anti-acne serum or lotion at one point or another.  This doesn’t mean that you need to slather your face with the treatment lotion two or three times a day.  For some teens once a day is probably enough while others may need to treat their skin twice a day.
  • Give new products time to work!  I cannot emphasize this enough – you need to try your new products for about three months before determining if they really are helping your skin.  Constantly switching skincare products is no help to your skin.
  • Be compliant with your skincare regime.  Having great skincare products that just sit in your bathroom is no help for anyone.  They only work, and work best, when you used them daily and as directed.
  • If you can’t figure out what products are best for your skin I would suggest going to get a facial and asking the esthetician to make recommendations.  You don’t need to buy everything or anything she recommends, but at least you can get some knowledgable advice instead of fumbling around in the dark.
  • Don’t pick!  And don’t let someone else pick at your skin either!  Picking only makes breakouts last longer, heal slower, and can leave scars.  Hand off your face!
  • Start using daily sun protection.  I always prefer that everyone has a separate sunscreen that isn’t combined with any other product like a moisturizer or make-up, but better that you have spf in something than in nothing.
  • Don’t go it alone – if you feel like you’ve tried everything and your skin still isn’t looking the way you want it to go see a dermatologist for help and advice.  Doctors can give you prescription products if necessary.
  • Eat a healthy diet and find ways to have fun and relax.  I know that being a teenager is stressful so finding ways to release that stress is actually helpful for your skin as well.
And remember – be kind to yourself.  A lot of teen skin issues are caused by hormonal fluctuations that eventually calm down with time and age.  This too shall pass just like you will finally be done with high school one day too.

Sources and Further Reading:

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When Your Skin Goes Psycho – Who or What Is To Blame? May 7, 2012

Has this ever happened to you – your skin is looking great and you’re feeling great because of it and then bam!  you wake-up one morning and your skin has gone psycho.  All of a sudden you have breakouts, dry skin, flaky skin, and you’ve lost that glow you had only hours earlier.  You are left wondering – why did this happen and how did this happen?

This recently happened to me and it got me thinking – do I need to change my whole skincare routine or do I just wait this out?  In every case the answer is very individual, but first and foremost – don’t panic and don’t throw out all your skincare products and start over.  Instead ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has the weather changed around you or have you moved to a different climate?
  • Are you experiencing a lot of stress?
  • Have you started using one or more new skincare products?
  • Have you been exposed to any possible allergens or harmful chemicals?
  • For the ladies – Are you about to get your period or did you just get your period?  Where are you in your monthly cycle?
  • Have you started taking new medications or are you experiencing a health issue?
Now the answers to the above questions are very individual since everyone can react differently to the same things.  If you the weather has changed around you (because of a change in the seasons or because you moved) you might need to change up your skincare routine a bit.  For instance as it gets more humid and hot switch to a lighter moisturizer, if you need one, and a more aggressive cleanser (maybe you don’t need a lotion or milky cleanser anymore but a foaming one instead).  If stress is impacting your skin negatively try best as you can to relax and eliminate the cause of your stress (I know – much easier said then done).
Medications can make your skin more sensitive (antibiotics can do this) for instance and hormones, of course, can cause breakouts.  So if you think your medication might be causing your skin issues consult with your doctor about what to do.  If you are aware that you always breakout around your period change-up your skincare regime in accordance to that schedule.  Use more acne fighting products just before you are getting your period in order to help control the increase in oil that can lead to breakouts.
If you started using new skincare products be sure to give your skin time to adjust.  Wait at least three month before determining if a new skincare product is really helping or hurting your skin.  Read labels carefully – some products might initially cause your skin to freak-out while you are getting used to them.
The other thing to do when your skin goes psycho is to just wait it out.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  And if like me you can’t actually figure out what is causing the changes in your skin give yourself, and your skin, a break.  If things don’t go back to normal within a few days or a week it might be time to change up your routine, but first take some time to just let things be.  This past time when my skin went psycho I really couldn’t figure out what was happening so I just left my skincare routine the same and waited it out.  Now my skin is back to normal.  There is always something to be said for having a little faith and patience.

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When People Say the Following … April 19, 2012

As my fellow estheticians know we hear a lot of different statements about skincare from a lot of different people.  People share a lot about their lives when they come in for treatments.  I also get an earful about skincare practices, ideas, products, and convictions.  Of course I’ve developed a number of pet peeves about what people tell me.  Let me share:

  • “I only wear sunscreen when I’m outside during the summer” and “I don’t need to use sunscreen if I’m only driving in my car a short distance”  So many people seem surprised to find out that you need sunscreen 365 days a year – no matter what the weather or how long you are going to be outside.  Sunscreen needs to be a part of your daily skincare routine – no questions asked.  It that daily incidental sun exposure that really adds up and ages your skin.
  • “I never exfoliate”   Everyone needs to exfoliate – you just need to find the right exfoliant for your skin.  Personally I prefer lotion or serum exfoliants that you leave on the skin to scrubs since most scrubs are harsh and only remove surface dead skin cells.  On the other hand most exfoliating lotions or serums contain ingredients that not only exfoliate the skin but rejuvenate it as well.  Two brands that I like for exfoliating lotions are Epionce and Paula’s Choice.
  • “All skincare products make me break out” – this comment peeves me because it just can’t be true since there are so many skincare products out there.  If skincare products cause you irritation of any kind you need to go on a “skincare diet”.  Stop using all products and then add products back one by one so you can clearly determine if a certain product or ingredient is causing you problems.  There are also numerous skincare products on the market for sensitive skin so really there is something out there for everyone.
  • “I broke out right away when I used a product so I stopped using it”  Your skin needs time to adjust to new products, and you have to give yourself at least three months of trying products before you can determine if they are really effective or not.  If you are acne prone you can experience more breakouts at the beginning of using new products since new products can have a purging effect on the skin.  This means that the ingredients in the products bring to the surface breakouts or clogged pores lurking just below the surface of the skin.  This is something that is not uncommon when you are acne prone.  Don’t give up on new products before you give them enough time to work.  Try new products for at least 3 months before you give up on them.
  • “I don’t wash my face at night” and “I forget to take off my make-up at night”  I hear these statements a lot, and I can sympathize since I know how tired one can get by the end of a long day.  But despite how tired you are do make the effort to remove your make-up and wash your face at the end of the day.  This one simple step can be a life saver for your skin.

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New Year’s Skincare Resolutions December 29, 2011

With the end of 2011 rapidly approaching this would be a good time to take stock of both your skincare products and routine and see if either are in need of a change.  Now a while back I wrote a post  that basically said if your skincare regime is working for you there is no need to change it up.  I still stand by that post and everything I wrote in it.  So what I am proposing here isn’t a total change of your skincare products but a reevaluation of  your skincare products and routine for the new year just to make sure everything is working for you.

To begin ask yourself a few questions:

  • What are your top skincare concerns and are both the products you are using and your daily routine addressing those concerns?  For instance if sun damage is bothering you are you using a lightening or brightening serum daily and applying enough sunscreen in order to prevent more damage?
  • Are you making sure that you are preventing future skin damage on a daily basis?  If you aren’t using an antioxidant serum every morning now is the time to start.  And once again sunscreen is a must daily.
  • Have you updated your skincare regime to reflect the weather?  For instance in the winter most people need a moisturizer if they live in a colder climate.  In the summer you might need to add a shine blocker to your routine.
  • Are you protecting all your skin?  A lot of people neglect their hands and chests.  Invest in a hand cream with spf in it so that protecting your hands from sun damage becomes super easy.  Be sure to remember to bring all your skincare products down your neck and chest when applying them morning and night.

Also be sure to look at expiration dates on all skincare products (if they have them) especially your sunscreen.  Throw out all products that are passed their expiration date, that have changed color, or separated.  This includes make-up as well.  Make sure you clean your make-up brushes often; I recommend once a week, especially if you have acne.  Make-up brushes can harbor lots of bacteria.

Resist the urge to buy the newest skincare products on the market or the products featured in the most ads.  Make a New Year’s resolution to research before purchasing products.

Further Reading:


Should You Get A Sonic Cleansing Brush? December 26, 2011

About two months ago I started using a Clarisonic Mia cleansing brush in the evenings to remove my make-up.  From time to time clients have asked me what I think of these cleansing brushes, and I also knew that many estheticians use the professional version of the brush during facials.  I even heard from the nurse at a dermatology practice that I should be using one.  The reason I waited so long to try one of the brushes for myself was the cost since the cheapest version is over a $100.  (Keep in mind that Olay does make a much cheaper version of the brush)  Eventually I saved up my credit card points and got my brush.

If you read women’s fashion magazines regularly, like I do, you will inevitably come across mention of Clarisonic brushes and how great they are.  Touted as the best way to remove make-up and truly cleanse the skin these sonic cleaning brushes have a loyal following.  But do you really need to use one?

What Are The Benefits of a Sonic Cleaning Brush?

According to the Clarisonic website using one of their brushes:

  • Leaves skin feeling and looking healthier
  • Removes 6X more makeup than cleansing with hands alone
  • Helps skin care products absorb better
  • Pores appear smaller
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • Gentle enough for use twice a day
  • Soft, non-abrasive for different skin types

Without proper cleansing, pollutants, oil and bacteria accumulate on the skin, clogging pores and causing blackheads, blemishes and dullness. This prevents serums and moisturizers from performing to their fullest potential.

Sonic cleansing better prepares your skin for skin care products. Compared to manual cleansing, using the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System allows for up to 61% better absorption of Vitamin C. Better absorption allows creams, serums and moisturizers to work their best.

Additionally, Clarisonic says that their brush is good for all skin types and is gentle enough for people with acne and rosacea and can be used twice daily.

And how does it work exactly?  This is the same sort of technology like your electric toothbrush (and indeed the company that created the Clarisonic brush first created a sonic toothbrush).  The sonic frequencies from the brush create 300 movements per seconds, once again according to the company website, in order to remove make-up and dirt more efficiently from the skin.  These movements also whisk away dead skin cells sitting on top of your face and this, of course, makes your skin feel softer.

But Is A Sonic Cleansing Brush Really For Everyone?

So after reading the Clarisonic website or a fashion magazine article about the brush you probably want to go out and buy one immediately.  But I want to caution my readers about a few things before you spend your hard-earned money on a sonic cleansing brush.

Dr. Leslie Baumann pointed out a few interesting things about such cleansing brushes on a post on her Yahoo! blog:

… anyone with sensitive skin – and acne-prone skin is indeed sensitive – should actually avoid these vigorous scrubbing products, which can exacerbate inflammation.

Rosacea and the tendency to experience skin allergies are further indications that you should not be using an abrasive exfoliant or a vigorous cleansing brush. Similarly, anyone with very dry skin should avoid exfoliating, which may compromise an already impaired skin barrier and worsen dryness.

That is not to say, though, that facial brushes are universally bad. Resistant types in particular can benefit from more intensive exfoliation. Remember, in my skin-typing system, “resistant” is the opposite of “sensitive” – but resistant types have their own set of concerns:

Because their skin is literally thicker, they have to work a little harder to get beneficial ingredients to penetrate. And one great way to do that is by sloughing off dead skin cells before applying other products.

 So if you have skin that can tolerate facial brushes, there’s no reason not to use them. Just be aware that they offer no more benefits than a good facial scrub (I love the Alchimie Forever Excimer Plus Gentle Antioxidant Refining Scrub, for example), although they may be a little more fun! When you consider some of the brushes out there, though – like Clarisonic’s Skincare Brush, the gold standard of facial brushes that retails for almost $200 – fun might not be worth the premium.

Paula Begoun has even harsher words for these brushes.  Here are some highlights from her Beautypedia review of the Clarisonic cleansing brush:

We’re not saying that Clarisonic’s brush is not a good way to clean skin. What we are saying is that it is not the only nor is it the best way to clean skin or remove makeup. Without question, it is needlessly expensive and not something anyone should go into debt for out of concern their skin is not getting clean enough. Besides, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can check out the similar cleansing brush system from Olay’s Pro-X brand (this retails for around $30).The only other published piece of information about Clarisonic simply described how the sonic cleansing worked to provide consistent results and help loosen debris trapped in pores due to the oscillating brush head. Sounds promising, but the piece was written by Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, the company that, you guessed it, sells Clarisonic (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2006, pages 181-183).This brush will certainly help clean skin (and for that reason it deserves a Good rating), but it won’t reduce wrinkles, pore size, or blemishes–at least not to a degree where you’ll be glad you splurged on the system. The basic system includes two brush heads (for normal and sensitive skin); a Delicate brush head is available for separate purchase (all brush heads cost $25 apiece). The Delicate brush is recommended for very sensitive skin; however, regardless of brush head chosen, I’d use caution if you’re attempting to use Clarisonic and have rosacea or sensitive skin.NOTE: If you decide to use this or any other cleansing brush on your skin, please be gentle. Overzealous usage can lead to inflammation that can hurt your skin’s healing process. Pay attention to how your skin responds and discontinue (or reduce frequency of) use if you see signs of irritation.

 So Should You Buy A Sonic Brush?

I think that if you wear a lot of make-up daily or have very thick and/or oily skin then investing in a sonic cleansing brush is a good idea.  If you have rosacea and/or papules and pustules from acne (or from severe rosacea) then I don’t think a sonic cleansing brush is for you.

My experience with my Clarisonic Mia has been interesting.  The first time I used it I was shocked by how soft my skin felt immediately after using it.  But when I went to use my brush the following morning my skin turned red and felt irritated.  Now I use my brush every evening, and only in the evening, with my gentle cleanser to remove my make-up and then I cleanse with my GloTherapeutics salicylic acid cleanser.  I’ve wondered for a long time if I am really removing all my make-up completely at the end of the day before bedtime.  There are so many make-up products, especially foundations, that are close to impossible to remove.  Since I strongly believe in making sure your face is properly cleansed at the end of the day, I felt like a Clarisonic brush would be the perfect way to make sure that was accomplished.  I am glad that I invested in a Clarisonic because now I feel that I am truly removing all my make-up in the evening, but having said that I am making sure that I don’t over do it with the brush as well.  Even though I have oily, resistant skin I am only using my brush once a day, and I use the sensitive skin brush head for the brush.

If you own a Clarisonic brush, or one of the similar brushes, please share your experience below.

Further Reading:

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Creating a Skincare Routine: Nighttime December 15, 2011

Your nighttime skincare routine doesn’t need to be complicated, just make sure to keep a few things in mind when planning out your steps.  Before you go to bed make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and take the opportunity to treat your skin for any ongoing skincare issues.  This treatment could be an anti-aging treatment or a hyperpigmentation treatment; it just depends on what your skin needs.

First and foremost, you MUST cleanse your skin and remove your make-up before going to bed.  I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is to making sure your skin is healthy and beautiful.  If you wear make-up be sure to do a double cleanse in the evening.  Make-up can be very stubborn to remove so when you wash your face twice you can be sure you’ve removed everything.  Your first cleanse could be with a make-up wipe or a gentle cleanser and your second cleanse, if you need it, could be with a salicylic or glycolic acid cleanser.

Before bed is also the right time to exfoliate.  How your exfoliate is up to you; you can use a scrub, a serum, or a cleanser with added acids to it.  Exfoliate at least twice a week.  Some people can even exfoliate every night.

Next treat your skin.  If uneven skin tone and dark spots are your main skincare issue apply a serum that will help fade spots.  If fine lines and wrinkles are your main concern use a prescription Retin-A or OTC retinol to smooth skin.  If you suffer from breakouts apply benzoyl peroxide at night.

Moisturize if your face feels tight and/or dry.  Not everyone needs a moisturizer at night (or during the day).  Go by how your skin feels in order to determine if you need a moisturizer.  There is no needs to buy a specific moisturize labeled “nighttime” if you already have a moisturizer that you like.  Howver, if your daytime moisturizer has spf in it I would certainly save that for daytime use only.  Not that the sunscreen will hurt your face at night, but for the simple reason that you are wasting product meant for daytime by applying it at night.

Consider sleeping on your back.  It is actually true that sleeping on your side or stomach can lead to deeper wrinkles.  A satin pillowcase may also help keeps wrinkles at bay.  If you wake-up in the morning with puffy eyes or bags underneath your eyes sleep with your head slightly propped up in order to allow fluid to properly drain instead of pooling underneath your eyes and giving you bags.

And in order to look your best in the morning make sure you get enough beauty sleep.  Getting plenty of sleep really can make a difference in your appearance.

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