In my consultations with clients, I always check in with them about their current skin care routine, so that I can make a proper assessment of what kind of treatment is appropriate during the facial, and what kind of after-care I should recommend for home use. It is astounding how many people are still using things that are terrible for their skin, often due to misinformation.
Here I will clarify the top five things that I would like my clients to understand before they purchase products.
Soap. Most bar soaps are high on the pH scale, and are quite drying for your skin. It can also disrupt your lipid barrier, which is important because it is your skin’s defense against inflammation, dryness, wrinkles, and more. Damaging this barrier can make your skin sensitive, and make it nearly impossible to repair and maintain healthy skin. I recommend using a skin cleanser that is designed for your particular skin type, and one that is specifically targeting your skin’s concerns.
Apricot Scrub. Most estheticians shudder when they hear a client say they use apricot scrub, because this is one of the worst things you can use on your skin. First, the walnut shells that provide the gritty texture are jagged and can create microscopic cuts in your skin which can lead to irritation and infection. The most widely known apricot scrub brand is St. Ives, and although it is often touted as “natural”, it is anything but. It contains fragrance, and many ingredients that are known toxins. There are many exfoliants out there that are gentle to your skin, so avoid overexfoliating with apricot scrub.
Cetaphil. For years, drugstores and dermatologists have been promoting Cetaphil as the most natural and inexpensive choice. However, I see it as another great case of marketing! If you read the ingredients, you will see that it contains not just one, but three parabens that are on the Dirty Dozen list (more on that below). The sodium laurel sulphate it contains not only can irritate skin, but it contributes to damaging the lipid barrier. Stay away from this product line.
MLM Products. In my career, I am constantly being asked by MLM consultants to represent their products. While there are some good ones out there and some that are not so good, in general I do not suggest buying products from your neighbor who is unlicensed and untrained. Prior to my licensing as an esthetician, I was part of an MLM, so I am not anti-networking marketing, nor am I suggesting that there are not some great products represented by this business model. However, the first point of difference is that OTC products are not as effective as professional products. Estheticians and dermatologists have access to products that can perform at deeper levels of the skin. Another point of difference is that many MLM representatives have no knowledge of the skin’s layers, product ingredients, or chemical reactions, and cannot effectively give the best product advice. Many of my clients who have purchased products from someone they know are not getting the results they could get from spa quality products that would actually cost them much less money. Also, they may be inadvertently creating barrier damage that can create life-long skin challenges.
The Dirty Dozen. The Healthy Living Lounge produced The Dirty Dozen, a list of the twelve most toxic ingredients used in skin care and cosmetic products. As an esthetician, I urge all my clients to utilize this list and ditch any products that contain these harmful substances. There are plenty of natural products out there that won’t cause you serious health issues. For a copy of The Dirty Dozen, click here for your free copy.
There are many circumstances that affect your skin, including genetics and environmental factors. But I would estimate that 80% of keeping skin healthy is your home care routine. Your number one priority is choosing the right products.