We are into month four of my skin care journey.I am definitely feeling in “a groove” with my skin care products, my routine, etc. The past couple of months have been some trial and error with products (more in Q & A) as the temperature has drastically changed here in Boston. My skin quickly went from dry and dehydrated to sweaty and sticky. These 90+ degree temps have been really challenging! I nixed my face lotion completely (will remain in my storage cabinet until fall) and replaced it with this moisturizing gel. What a game changer – this stuff is incredible! Gone are the days of feeling like I have a heavy lotion on my face. Ugh, that was the worst!.
To start, Mara took a good, deep look at my skin under the microscope as I noticed that I was having some small bumps on my chin. You know the super tiny ones that you can feel, but can’t see? So annoying. Anyway, we think it was a combination of (a) hormones (my time of the month), (b) poor diet (I had just returned from a short vacay where I undoubtedly drank too much booze & ate too much sugar) and (c) the sun. This combination had really taken a toll on my skin! She assured me that these aren’t filled with anything and they’re essentially empty bumps. They’ve since died down a bit as I have been focused on drinking a lot more water and all but eliminated sugar back out of my diet (I am 100% convinced that sugar is the devil!).
After a deep cleansing and evaluation, Mara mentioned that she could tell I had recent sun exposure from the small freckles that appeared around my nose and cheeks. This is exactly why I like going to the same esthetician routinely – she’s gotten to know my skin and can recognize any patterns / new developments. She then massaged in an exfoliant for about five minutes and then added a glycolic acid cream to get a deeper exfoliation. This was my favorite part – it’s like a massage on your face and felt so good!
We proceeded with extractions (I had a lot this week – damn oil!) and then continued with a hydrating + soothing mask. She painted on a thick cream that went over my entire face, even my eyelids. The mask has a serum underneath to deepen the hydration. Mara noted that a common misconception people have is thinking that if their skin is oily, it must be hydrated. Simply not the case! Given that it’s the peak of summer, most of our skin will be dehydrated. She then finished me off with an all over 35 SPF sunscreen, including a lip screen, as my lips were definitely dry.
Monthly Q & A
1. My skin feels super oily and greasy now that summer is here – what do I do?
This is the perfect time to change out your moisturizer. With dramatic season shifts, you have to be willing to change your skincare routine with the season. Example: summer is the perfect time to eliminate heavy creams (keep them in a cool, dark storage space to bring them back out in winter). Unless you live in a climate-controlled region such as Southern California, you most likely need “summer” and “winter” products. Hydration levels need to be taken into account as well. For example, you want a hydrating serum in summer, while you need a heavy moisturizer in winter. The goal of the moisturizer is to hold the water to hydrate, but not feel greasy on your skin. Keep in mind that both moisturizers and cleansers have very long shelf lives, so don’t throw them away – simply store them for the following season.
2. I have an event tonight and didn’t sleep well last night. I’ve got huge bags under my eyes. Any tricks?
Unfortunately, lack of sleep is a tough one to mask, as it’s easily noticeable in your skin, especially under your eyes! Luckily, there are a few old tricks that can help mask these for the time being. Mara says the first thing you should do is spend about 20 minutes with a cold compress on your eyes to help decrease swelling. You can either use a towel or purchase some gel eye masks. She recommends leaving a couple in the fridge for emergencies (they’re less than $5 at any drugstore!). Another suggestion is to use the old model trick of preparation-H. This restricts the blood vessels, which decreases redness and the anti-inflammatory part decreases swelling. Lastly, drinking a cool glass of water, first thing in the morning, is a great way to get your blood flowing and circulation pumping. Bonus: this helps your digestive system get going also, which we all know is a plus.
3. I have noticed a lot of people mentioning the Clarisonic lately. Do I need one?
While you certainly don’t need one, Mara does recommend them. In fact, she has one herself! She says that the key to the Clarisonic is to not overuse it. It is really meant to be used no more than three times per week. It provides a deeper clean and really gets into the nitty gritty of your skin. You’ll want to spend roughly 20 seconds on your forehead, nose & chin areas (where dirt and grim really build up) and only about 10 seconds on each cheek. She also mentions that it is a good idea to go ahead and pay for the name brand, as some of the cheaper knock-offs aren’t as good of quality. Be sure to rinse and air dry your bristles to keep them clean!
PS. Local Boston friends – please be sure to mention me as a referral on your intake form!