Saturday, March 5, 2011

Skincare Tips Part 1

Hello dear readers,

Stress and schoolwork and more stress have been getting in the way of blogging lately, so I'm trying to post at least once a week until the workload calms down. Who knows when that will be?

But alas, onto more important subjects: skincare. There are is a lot of debate in the scientific and cosmetic worlds about different ingredients and products that may or may not be harmful, or that may or may not be necessary. There are many misconceptions, and I'm certainly no expert so I don't expect everyone to agree, but these are just some tips from articles I've read on websites and in magazines.

A couple of the resources I used are Paula's Choice Cosmetic's Cop, The Style Diet, and various articles that have appeared on StumbleUpon under the beauty section. Granted, you have to choose Beauty as a subject of interest first.

Many of these tips are probably not new to most of you, but as a baby in the blogging world I feel like this is a post I have to make. I'm splitting this into two so you don't go blind with all the reading I'm giving you the option to do!

1.  Let's start with the most glaringly obvious rule: Wash your face, morning and night. We all know that it's so important to wash our faces at night in order to get rid of makeup, bacteria, and all the dirt and pollution our skin has come into contact with throughout the day. If we don't, it will not only absorb into our skin as we sleep, but some will transfer to our pillows where we will lay our lovely faces down again the next day. However, some people like to skip washing their faces in the morning. There is some debate about this, as some aestheticians or dermatologists would say it's unnecessary. But do you really want to apply more product over the product you had on the night before? Not to mention the oils you produce naturally and the fact that your face has been against a pillow unless you sleep on your back. Also, any hair product that you slept with is probably on your face. So washing it twice a day is really the best way to go.

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2.  Speaking of hair products, if you're like me and you wash your hair in the morning or afternoon and sleep with product in your hair, you might want to consider pulling it away from your face at night. At the risk of looking like Pippy Longstockings's long lost twin, I sleep with my hair in two braids every night in order to reduce the amount of product that not only gets on my face but that transfers to my pillow. As a side note, I also find that this doesn't pull on my hair as much as it would if I had it in a bun, though obviously I'd get even less product on my face if I did that. Also, sleeping on your back is said to prevent wrinkles, but don't stress out too much if, like me, you can't fall asleep that way.

3.  As far as moisturizing goes, there are some misconceptions about skin types and moisture. It's often said that oily skin needs a lot of moisture in order to prevent it from overproducing oil. But here's a news flash: Oily skin is ALREADY producing more than enough of it's own natural moisture. So moisturizing morning and night isn't really necessary for oily skin, but that doesn't mean it's not allowed. Just stick to a gel formula if you want to moisturize your oily skin. Obviously, the drier the skin, the creamier the moisturizer, but this isn't always the case. Dry, acne prone skin probably shouldn't be using such a heavy moisturizer. Combination skin or normal skin can usually use a moisturizing lotion.

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4.  There's often the misconception that sensitive skin is it's own skin type, but any type of skin can be sensitive as well. As a general rule, you should stay away from fragrance in your face products, but be especially wary if you have sensitive skin as it is irritating.

5.  Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are great acne fighters, but they aren't the only ones. I feel the need to put this out there, simply because I'm sensitive to both of those products. Sulfur based treatments can be quite effective as well, especially if nothing else works. I mentioned one in my skin care tips, and it works very well for me.

6.  A tip I learned from Anna Saccone is to wash your face at the end of your shower, after shampooing and conditioning. Some of the cleansing agents in shampoos and conditioners can cause acne, so it's important to wash your face after you've rinsed your hair and finished your shower. Again, even in the shower I wash my hands with body wash before washing my face. Call me crazy, but after rinsing out conditioner I don't want the residue to get on my face.

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7.  Make sure you always use sunscreen. I don't think I can stress this enough. Not only do you not want skin cancer, but you also don't want premature signs of aging like wrinkles, age spots, and sun spots. Preferably use a sunscreen with a physical block, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. I know there's some debate over the safety of microparticles of zinc oxide, but as I'm not an expert on skincare, I unfortunately can't give you the science or the facts about that. The only issue with a physical sunscreen is that it can give a slight whitish cast, but if you have that sunscreen in a moisturizer or foundation, you won't have that problem. It doesn't matter where you get your sunscreen, as long as you consistently use it. Make sure it's at least SPF 15 in the winter if you're indoors a lot, and at least SPF 30 in the warmer months. Anything above SPF 30 is only fractionally more effective, but still great.

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You can check this website out for more info

8.  Sometimes a gentle facial wash and moisturizer are the best things for broken out skin. If you can, go to a dermatologist and get a prescription treatment for acne, or get one off the shelves at the pharmacy, and use that as your acne treatment. By staying gentle with the other products, it allows the specific acne product to do the work while the skin is not being upset by other harsh products all at once.

9.  Look at ingredients in products before caving in to a cult super expensive skincare product. Special ingredients and secret formulas seem to be increasingly in products these days, but you need to see how high up that "miracle" ingredient is on the ingredients list. If it's not in the first few ingredients, chances are you can find a cheaper version of the same product that will do the job. This seems to be a personal preference, as you tend to feel that more expensive skincare must be better, but not all expensive skincare products are good and not all bargain products are bad. Don't cave in to the cult product unless you really enjoy indulging!

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This website may also help clear up some questions on ingredients.

10. Along these same lines, take skincare product reviews with a grain of salt. Someone might absolutely hate the cleanser you swear by, but that does not mean you have to stop using it. It just means that person has a different skin type than you. No one is the same when it comes to skincare, so embrace your unique skincare needs!

You can see my own skincare staples here if you're curious.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you were able to get through it all. If you did, congratulations! Part Two is coming up quite soon. I just have to edit it, and it will be on its way!

Thanks for reading.

Here's to beautiful, healthy skin!



  1. Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

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  2. Thanks! I'm glad you found it helpful.