Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Skincare 101

I've written before about my skin care routine, but in talking to a few of you folks I realize I wasn't entirely clear about all of the steps, so today I'm gonna break it down for you real sweet and simple. Someone I know (who shall not be named) was using Hydrogen Peroxide instead of Benzoyl Peroxide. :O| Okay if you burn your face off do not hold me responsible.

Night Routine:
1. Wash with gentle cleanser. (Summer: Basis Gel Cleanser; Winter: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser)

On lazy nights, I use CVS Brand Exfoliating Pre-Moistened Face Wipes. (Any face wipe will do, just check to be sure there isn't OIL in the ingredient list. You'd be surprised how many contain castor oil or mineral oil.)

2. Apply 5% Benzoyl Peroxide all over the face in a thin layer. Allow to dry before touching or rubbing with anything, as it will ruin towels and clothes.

There are many different brands of Benzoyl Peroxide products. Check the active ingredient list. Most come in 10% formulas because apparently Americans will only buy things that are Maximum Strength. But 10% is far too drying and irritating for most people, so try to find a 5% formula if you can. Ones to look for: Oxy Standard, Neutrogena On the Spot, Paula's Choice 2.5% BP, Paula's Choice 5% BP, Generic Brands.

3. Moisturize if necessary with an oil-free moisturizer. I usually skip this step unless my face is drying out. Sometimes I'll just do a plain honey mask if I have the time. Other good moisturizers: Wet 'n' Wild Fresh Face Oil-Free Moisturizer, Olay Moisture Therapy Cream for Sensitive Skin, Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer.

Morning Routine:
1. Wash with gentle cleanser. (Summer: Basis Gel Cleanser; Winter: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser)

2. Apply chemical exfoliant like AHA Souffle or another lotion with glycolic acid. Allow to dry completely before applying anything else.

3. Apply moisturizer with sunscreen or foundation with sunscreen.

What is all of this for? This routine is for someone with blemish-prone skin. If you have clear skin, you may not need the benzoyl peroxide but you may wish to use the AHA.

Gentle cleansers are necessary because you don't want to upset the balance of your skin or use harsh detergents that are found in many cleansers. Benzoyl Peroxide penetrates the skin and hair follicle and kills the bacteria that cause acne. It's better to use it all over the face to prevent acne rather than to use it as a spot treatment as often marketed. To get rid of the dead skin that's created it's necessary to use an exfoliant. I prefer the chemical variety because they are gentle and thorough, as opposed to physical exfoliants that are gritty and harsh. AHA is a great chemical exfoliant and it makes you skin look renewed, which is essentially what it's doing. For a gentle physical exfoliant, mix baking soda or brown sugar with your cleanser.

Sometimes using all of this stuff will cause your skin to start reacting by drying out or getting reddish or feeling funny. If this happens, just try to figure out what's causing the irritation and back off on that step for a little while...maybe do it every few days instead of every day. Most of the time, it will be the Benzoyl Peroxide that causes irritation.

It's best to get your routine down and stick to will take a few weeks for your skin to calm down but once you start doing this all the time, your skin will be radiant. Don't stop doing these steps once your skin is clear...keep it up and you won't be sorry. Fuck ProActiv® Solution.

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