Two weeks ago, I did my last monthly skin care treatment with my girl Mara from Brad Duncan Skin Care here in Boston’s South End. I can’t believe that six months flew by so quickly! I can honestly admit that during these past six months, I not only saw an improvement in my skin but I also learned a lot about my skin and skin care as a whole. You can view the entire series here – month 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. To provide some more insight, I wanted to show this series of pictures, which has documented my change over the past 6 month. Each one was taken before my treatment every month and I’m not wearing any makeup in any of the pictures.
Can you tell a difference? I sure can – my skin looks brighter, healthier & more glowing! (side note – I can tell I lost some weight between month 1-6 also – bonus!)
Based on all of our sessions and what I have learned, here is my plan going forward:
1. Quarterly Facials: Though receiving monthly facials was an absolute treat, it isn’t something I can keep up with logistically or financially. Mara agreed that they aren’t absolutely necessary either. She said that quarterly is a good place to start since we will essentially be doing a treatment at every change of season. This helps her to evaluate how my skin is looking and make adjustments to my daily routine. For example, I may start my heavier moisturizer after my next treatment in December as temperatures drop and the air becomes drier and colder here in Boston.
2. Bi-Weekly At-Home Exfoliation: My skin in particular gets clogged easily from a variety of sources – sweat, makeup, poor diet, hormones, etc. One of my biggest issues and reasons for breakouts is clogged pores. I picked up a few light exfoliants (none of the hard ones that strip your skin) that I plan on doing 2-3 times per week to allow my skin to breathe. Also, I will be using face wipes after the gym every day so I’m not walking around with sweat clogging my pores for hours.
3. New Daily Skin Care Routine: Over the past six months, I have shared a variety of products that I was trying – some worked better than others and I feel like I have a solid foundation of products that work for my skin. Again, a lot of this is trial and error so work with your skin care professional to find a routine that works for you. Here’s mine:
As I said, I feel like I have learned so much about skin care the past six months. I want to share some takeaways that I have concluded from my experience. Overall, skin care is a journey. Nothing happens overnight. Nothing is an easy fix. But if you are properly evaluated, have a plan and remain consistent, you will see change. The best thing I can equate it to is losing weight or doing a home renovation – both of which happen in stages, and take a good amount of patience, consistency and planning.
6 Takeaways from 6 months of my skincare project:
1. Skin care is not a “one size fits all” type of deal. Similar to a diet or workout regimen, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. It will likely take some trial and error until you find the perfect combination of products for your skin. This is why it’s critical to find a dermatologist or esthetician that you trust and that takes the time needed to hear your concerns and understand your lifestyle.
2. Exfoliation is key. Most blemishes arise because of clogged skin due to a variety of factors, such as pollution, sunscreen, sweat, etc. I need to exfoliate more and you probably do too. You can use a gentle exfoliant daily or a more powerful one once to twice per week.
3. It starts with what you’re putting in your body. Ever heard “you can’t out train a bad diet”? Well, you can’t outsmart your skin from a bad diet either. An excess of salt, sugar, dairy and processed foods will show almost immediately on your skin. This probably explains why your skin feels so out of whack after a weekend of over-indulgence. Fill your body with hydrating, vitamin and mineral filled foods and you will notice a difference!
4. Hydration is everything. Your skin will never look as fresh, vibrant or youthful as you want if you’re not properly hydrated. In fact, dehydration is one of the main reasons for most skin issues. Drink lots of water and make sure that you use the right cleansers and lotions to properly hydrate your skin daily.
5. The order of products is important. Historically, I think that I put on eye cream, then sunscreen, then moisturizer, then makeup. Putting the products on in an incorrect order was not only clogging my skin, but not allowing them to work properly. For starters, you want the moisturizers/gels/creams to go on in order of heaviness. The order goes thinnest > thickest. Why? Because the end products are thicker, they can penetrate through the thin ones, but not vice versa. So I put gels > moisturizers > creams, followed by eye cream and lastly sunscreen.
6. Invest now to save later. Yes, facials and nice products are expensive. But you know what’s more expensive? Spending 10 times as much on Botox and fillers later in life. If you can cut a Starbucks here, omit a shopping spree there, you can likely save enough to hit the spa at least quarterly / change of seasons to get a professional treatment. In the interim, invest in products that are right for you and your skin care goals.
All in all, this skin care journey of mine has been an incredibly educational, fun and eye opening experience! I feel like I am leaving with a greater knowledge about myself, about skin care and about what I am putting in and on my body. For you Boston locals, I cannot recommend Brad Duncan enough – they are very smart and educated and don’t push products on you, which I like. They are less about spa and more about skin care. Be sure to mention that I sent you when you go by!