Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Product Recommendations Q & As—#1

I found your book to be very helpful, and my skin has improved a great deal using your suggestions. However, unless I missed it, you didn’t provide recommendations for what specific product brands to use.

I realize you may have clicked on this article in hopes of finding specific product recommendations with the brand names listed. But you won’t find those here. As much as I understand why you want specific product names, my gift to you is to help you understand your skin and about products in general, so you can be armed with knowledge when you go to purchase your products. Sure, it would be great if I would name specific brands, especially inexpensive products, but even then, those products wouldn’t be right for everybody. In Timeless Skin I mentioned a few cleansers by name, then I received emails from several readers who couldn’t use one or both for various reasons.

Although many people have contacted me to purchase the products I sell, some of my favorite emails have been from those of you who took the information you learned in Timeless Skin and Skin Care A to Z and went out and purchased products (wherever) that ended up helping your skin. Not because of the product line per se, but because you knew what type of products to look for, when to use what, and what ingredients to seek out or avoid. I want to educate you, the consumer, on the finer things to look for and to know about your skin. Then, armed with this information, you can choose what to use. Yes, this can be a daunting task, but I have empirical data (from you!) that proves it can be done.

I am looking for a hydrating night cream that will also provide some exfoliation or cell renewal. My skin is reasonably sensitive, so I can’t use retinol products. What would you recommend for face and body?

The conventional approach for this person would be to put her on an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) cream that would both moisturize and have some exfoliating abilities. But conventionally is not the way I would help her. She has already told me her skin is sensitive, so any of the acid products (including AHAs, vitamin C products, and products with retinol in them) would not be wise for her to use. These types of ingredients will simply further her sensitivities.

I am not a fan of a product having several jobs. I think a moisturizer should moisturize and, in this case, a separate exfoliator would be in order to give this woman the exfoliation and cell renewal she is looking for. Why is it that we want all-in-one products? Because exfoliation is so important to all skin and ages, it is imperative to do this step separately, rather than use a moisturizer with exfoliation capabilities. Those abilities are limited, I assure you.

My recommendation for this person would be to get a good night cream that is appropriate for her particular skin type, and also purchase a good exfoliator that she can use on her sensitive skin. This is where a gel-type peel or gommage comes in handy. It will do an excellent job of getting rid of the dead cells, which also helps to step up cell renewal, while at the same time not irritating her sensitive skin.

My skin seems to be a little red lately on the cheeks. I am 55 years old, so my skin needs some firming abilities and a good moisturizer. Can you give me some ideas?

Do you use AHAs or Retin-A on your skin? The cheek area usually seems to show the signs of capillary damage more so than other parts of our faces. I think this is primarily because when we get flushed, it usually shows up in the cheeks. So be sure not to use AHAs or any other irritating ingredients, including retinols and topical vitamin C products. Also if you get your face in the hot shower water, over time this will definitely cause redness in the cheek area, among other places.

As far as firming, there is nothing short of surgery that will truly lift the skin or firm it up. At 55 you are probably showing the signs of what 55-year-old skin looks like. This may not be consistent with how you want it to look, however.

There really is no cream that will tend to all of the needs of this client. She wants something to help with redness, sagging skin, and hydration. As an aesthetician, I would try to tackle the most prominent problem first. If, for instance, this person really did have a lot of redness, that is where I would concentrate my efforts. Any cream she uses will have moisturizing abilities, but no cream will really be able to firm flaccid skin. I would counsel her on the need to keep hot and cold water off her face and to be aware that sun exposure also affects capillaries, along with alcohol, smoking and caffeine. These can all affect the redness on her cheeks.

If her skin was dehydrated and true-dry and the redness was minimal, I would probably concentrate on having her exfoliate to alleviate any dead cell buildup that may be inhibiting superficial hydration. If her skin was true-dry (oil-dry), I would give her a hydration booster (a glycerin or even oil-based liquid) and an overall good moisturizer for her skin—one that had the capability to help the redness. 

I have several articles with questions and answers about product recommendations. Here are a few:
For more helpful information, see:
As you now know—I am not offering product-specific recommendations