Frequently Asked Questions
- Q. I have dozens for cleansers and face creams in my bathroom. What should I do with them?
People tend to buy products on impulse or because they want to get a free gift with purchase. As a result, we end up with literally dozens of products we use only a few times if at all, and then put away. Count how many skin care products you have at home that you don’t use. In the perpetual search for the perfect product, our available cabinet space diminishes. If you try to use up all your products before buying a new skin care program because you don’t want to throw them out, it could take years to finish them off. I suggest using these products on your body. Many face creams have found their way to my arms, legs, hands and feet. I’ve put facial cleansers in soap dispensers in my bathroom, and heavier creams are great on knees and elbows. Use up the ineffective products on the body to eliminate the guilt from having spent the money, make space in your bathroom, and get on quality products that will produce results.
- Q. What does pH mean, and why is it important to the skin?
pH stands for potential of Hydrogen. It is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The pH scale ranges from 0 on the acidic end to 14 on the alkaline end. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. Our bodies have a natural covering called the acid mantle. It's composed of fatty acids from our perspiration and amino acids from our skin tissue. This acid mantle fights infection from bacteria that gather on the skin. The pH factor is a measurement of the percentage of hydrogen ions in the acid. Normal facial skin is a pH of 4.5 to 5.5, meaning it is slightly acid. If something comes into contact with the skin that is either too acidic or too alkaline, the skin's natural protective barrier (the acid mantle) is affected. Barrier recovery is slowed, damage is prolonged, and skin problems will arise, such as skin peeling, rashes, irritation, etc. We recommend using a cleanser with a pH of around 3.0-3.5. When you drop the pH in the skin during the cleansing process, the subsequent products used penetrate the epidermis more readily. Your skin will usually normalize itself within a couple of minutes to a couple of hours after using such products. When you use a product which is alkaline (above a pH of 7) like soap, it interferes with the protective acid mantel. Toners were originally created to bring the pH back to normal after using soap. Once the skin is at it’s normal pH, additional products will not easily penetrate the skin. The cleansers we carry are all pH balanced for maximum effectiveness.
- Q. How can I tell what type of skin I have?
There are certain characteristics of the skin which define the type of skin you have. It is important to remember you are not “locked” into a particular skin type. Many factors can change what you perceive your skin type to be, like aging, smoking or the weather. Estheticians differ in the number of skin types they define. Some will place their patients in one of three categories, while others will have ten or more categories. Below is a range of skin types, and characteristics which define what most closely describes your particular type. Sometimes it is difficult to inspect one’s own skin closely without the use of a magnifying mirror. It is best done in the daylight to get an accurate impression of the skin’s condition.
Dry Skin: Dry skin usually appears to have fine wrinkles, flaking, red patches, almost invisible pores, and a dull, rough complexion. Dry skin can be caused by genetics, hormonal aging and external factors such as wind and UV radiation. This skin type can be fine and delicate, but dry when exposed to physical elements such as sunburn, burns, cold temperatures, abrasions, and certain medications. When the skin repairs itself after being exposed to these elements, dryness and flaking usually occurs. There are skin conditions which cause the skin to flake and sometimes crack. It feels tight, especially after cleansing may be rough and scaly. The outer skin layer many develop tiny cracks. The pores are almost invisible and the complexion is very dull with red patches. Very dry skin may be caused by genetics, hormonal aging, and extreme external factors such as wind and sun exposure.
Combination Skin: Medium pores, smooth and even texture, good circulation, healthy color, may tend toward dryness on the cheeks, may be oily in T-Zone. The pores are overly dilated, tend to have blackheads and be shiny in the T-zone. If your skin is oilier on your forehead, nose, and chin than on your cheeks and around your eyes, you have "combination skin." The skin is either overly dry or excessively oily, with occasional roughness on the cheeks. The oiliness and dryness can change, depending on the time of year (skin is usually drier when the weather is cold). Causes of combination skin are an imbalance in the production and distribution of lipids typically due to hormonal and genetic factors.
Oily Skin: In this type of skin, the oil-producing sebaceous glands are overactive and produce more oil than is needed. This type of skin appears as greasy, shiny, thick, or slightly waxy with enlarged pores, and is prone to blackheads and blemishes. Often chronically oily skin has coarse pores and pimples and other blemishes. Touching oily skin may sometimes leave a residue of oil on the fingertips. It is caused by the hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands caused by puberty or other hormonal imbalances, stress, antibiotics, and exposure to heat or excessive humidity. . Does your face feel like a puddle of oil an hour after you’ve washed it? Does makeup disappear by midmorning? At age 30, are you still breaking out like a teenager? If you said yes, you have oily skin with overactive sebaceous glands
Aging or Sun-Damaged Skin: Feels tight, visible wrinkles, slack skin tone, especially around the cheeks and jawline, leathery texture, broken capillaries. . Does your skin feel as tight as a drum when I wash in hot water? Does it reflect light, or does it appear dull and patchy? Can you see flakes or red spots where there used to be clear skin? This is a sign of aging skin. Is there anything I can do reduce the dark circles around the eyes? Several skin care lines carry products which focus on lightening dark circles around the eyes. The process incorporates increasing the micro circulation of the skin under the eye, as well as exfoliating and lightening the skin. Some dark circles are visible due to the shape of the eye socket, which casts a shadow. Other causes can be an accumulation of fat beneath the lower eyelid, which also casts a shadow. In that case, surgery would be an option to decrease the appearance of dark circles. Technology has improved greatly in this area, whereas previously there was nothing that could be done to decrease dark circles. Depending on the cause of the dark circles, the newer products have shown tremendous improvement for patients dealing with that problem.
- Q. What can I do to even out my skin tone and get rid of dark spots?
- A. Most skin care lines offer lightening products. Many people experience terrific results by using treatment products that are specially formulated to address these spots. Some products you can apply directly to the dark spot and need not apply it all over the face. It can take from one to several months of strict continuous use to achieve the desired results. Also sun avoidance is particularly important. Many skin lightening products use an ingredient called Alpha Arubtin. Common, safe and often preferred alternative ingredients are botanical in nature and are; kojic and latic acid and bearberry and mulberry extracts.
- Q. Do I need to use a toner after cleansing?
Toners are generally used to remove any excess residue left on the skin after cleansing and to restore your skin’s natural pH. If you wash your face with soap (which you shouldn’t), it is a good idea to use a toner because soap is too alkaline. If you are using a cleanser with a pH in the 3.0-3.5 range, it may be better to skip using a toner. Product penetration will improve if your skin is slightly acidic, and a toner will bring it back to its normal range which may prevent subsequent products from working effectively.