Tag Archives: skin care

Powerful Peptides

Woman examining face

The science of skincare. Some of us have no interest in the way an ingredient works, as long as it does. And that’s fine. After all, results are the bottom line. As long as the buzz is positive, we’ll try it. Others, on the other hand, have a vested interest in exactly what products do for your skin. Both groups have probably heard the word peptide being tossed around by skincare experts. To the latter group, here is some information that you may find fascinating. To the former, here is some more buzz about peptides.

What Are Peptides?
Peptides are pieces of proteins made of amino acids. When the amino acids combine, they create specific peptides. That’s why you may have heard the word peptide mentioned in athletic doping scandals, pepto bismal, and skincare; there are hundreds of types used for many different things. We’ll keep to skincare, to keep the lesson brief. When peptides combine in a certain way, they make proteins and proteins are the building blocks of skin. Without them, skin texture changes, wrinkles appear, and skin becomes saggy.

Woman at mirror

Peptides and Skincare
While peptides are a clear member of the “ingredients to look for in a skincare product” team, it is important to remember, that this is just what they are, a part of a team, albeit very important ones. There is no single solution to all the aging problems, and peptides are no different. However, they do play a valuable role, helping to make skin more resilient and providing support for the skin’s fundamental building blocks.

Collagen Production
Collagen is a protein made up of peptides, and forms peptides when it is broken down. The result goes into your wrinkle cream. When the collagen supply in your skin lowers with age, the peptides signal your skin to make new collagen. The most popular peptide for this function is palmitoyl pentapeptide (matrixyl). Smart consumers will look for this on the ingredient labels of items they are considering for purchase.

Copper
The small size of peptides enables them to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin. When combined with copper, the peptide will deliver copper to those layers. Research shows copper has healing properties and seems to act as an antioxidant and promote collagen production.

Woman reading product label

Read Before Buying
Even though peptides are capable of great results, many things have to happen to ensure that they happen. Because they are products of broken down proteins, peptides may continue to break down in a topical cream, until they are rendered useless. They also need to be in a cream which will be thin enough to penetrate the skin. A peptide in a thick cream may sit on the surface of the skin, only to wash off before going to work.

Have you tried peptides? What do you think? Did you get the combination right? Let us know!

The Many Benefits of Vitamin A

In history, there have been many noteworthy firsts: the first baseball player to hit 50 home runs in a season, the first man to walk on the moon, the first talking movie, the first female Supreme Court justice, and the first vitamin to be discovered.

The first suspicions of Vitamin A’s powers were recognized by the ancient Egyptians, who realized night blindness could be treated by eating liver. But it wasn’t until its formal discovery in 1913 that it officially claimed the first letter of the alphabet for its name.

Since then, Vitamin A has been delighting acne-prone teens, wrinkle prone ladies, and fighting to protect humans from all sorts of symptoms of malnourishment and cancer. So, as we do with all famous firsts, let’s take a moment to commemorate. Here are some of the many benefits of Vitamin A.

 Eye Health

Vine-Vera-Healthy-Eyes
Beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in plants, plays a vital role in the prevention of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. An Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that people at high risk for eye disease had a 25% reduced risk of macular degeneration when they took a daily multivitamin containing Vitamins A and C, zinc, and copper over a six-year period. Another showed that vitamin A drops were an effective treatment for dry eyes and that OTC eye drops containing vitamin A were as effective as expensive prescription formulas.

Immune Support
Vitamin A regulates genes involved in immune responses, which means it is a crucial component in fighting everything from the common cold to autoimmune diseases and cancer.

A London-based study showed that Vitamin A supplements reduced child mortality rates by 24% in low to middle-income families, while the deficiency in the vitamin made children more vulnerable to infections like the measles and diarrhea.

Fights Inflammation
The antioxidant properties in vitamin A can help fight free radicals in the body that causes cellular and tissue damage. Vitamin A prevents cells in the immune system from becoming overactive to food proteins, creating food alleges and inflammation.

Vine-Vera-Vitamin A-Fights

Intake of the vitamin can also reduce the risk of certain food allergies altogether. The decrease levels of inflammation have been linked to lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Supports Health and Growth of Skin cells
Vitamin A is needed for skin regrowth, wound healing and plays a powerful role in skin cancer prevention. It is also necessary for a good complexion, fight acne and improve the overall health of the skin. Vitamin A produces collagen, which can keep lines and wrinkles from appearing as well as contributing to healthy hair.

 Prevents Cancer
A study at the University of York showed the intake of vitamin A can treat several forms of cancer because it is able to control malignant cells in the body. Retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative) plays a significant role in cell differentiation, development, and treatment of cancer.

It has been credited with suppressing breast, lung, prostate, bladder, ovarian, and cystic cancer and has been linked to the reduction of melanoma and hepatoma. Most recently, researchers have discovered evidence suggesting that the molecular mechanisms found in the acid may have an effect on the fates of cancer cells.

Where do you get your vitamin A from? Tell us what supplements, foods, or topical treatments provide you with nature’s first vitamin.

Nighttime Beauty Habits To Start Now

Woman smiling

While the moon is channeling its inner powers of rejuvenation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same. The nighttime is the ideal time for you to bring out your inner eternal Goddess, cleansing and exfoliating away the terrestrial grind and revealing your true heavenly self. Here are some “moon time” beauty habits to help you find your lunar beauty.

Wash Your Face
Resist the temptation to fall into bed without cleansing properly, no matter how tired you are. If you leave makeup on, it will spend the night grinding into your skin, stretching out pores and causing breakouts.

Cosmetic dermatologist Lisa Ginn, MD, advises an oil-based makeup remover which is gentle, and can remove even the most “long lasting” formulas without tugging on skin. Apply the remover to your skin with a cotton pad and follow with a mild cleanser.

Vitamin A
As we age, our skin produces less collagen, which, Ginn says, is the main cause of wrinkles. “If you never stopped making collagen and never damaged collagen, you would never get a wrinkle, your pores would stay small, you’d never get a scar, and your skin would stay nice and tight,” she says. “Collagen is key.”

Woman in bathroom mirror

And how can we keep this precious collagen working for us? Ginn recommends vitamin A which stimulates collagen production, tightening pores, and smoothing fine lines. The doctor recommends applying the vitamin in the form of an over the counter or prescription retinoid nightly. The retinoids also work to lighten brown spots, as an added perk.

Eye Cream
The skin around our eyes is the thinnest of all the skin on our bodies, and becomes thinner with age, making it especially vulnerable to hollowing and under eye circles.

The best treatment for skin repair around the eyes, according to Ginn, is a serum or eye cream with vitamins A, C, E or K. If you choose to use a serum, however, the doctor suggests using a light eye cream in addition to keeping skin moisturized.

Alternate Sleep Sides
Ginn says she can determine which side a person sleeps on by looking ar the lines in her face. While some experts say anti-wrinkle pillows are the solution, Ginn recommends trying to lie on your less favored side. She says that even if you end up reverting to your usual side during the night, you still will have prevented some damage. You can avoid any contact with the pillow by sleeping on your back, if you can manage it.

Hand and Foot Care

Hand and foot care

Foot Care
To keep your piggies lovely, rub your heels and toes with a 12% lactic acid lotion to get rid of dry skin and top with a heavier one, such as one which contains shea butter or glycerin. Cover feet with socks and wake up gorgeous. However, Ginn warns against excessive sock wearing as a possible breeding ground for fungal infection.

Hand Care
The nighttime is the perfect time to slather on that heavy duty hand cream that’s too cumbersome for daily activities. Remember to include your cuticles while you slather.

Let us know how you channel your moon goddess! What’s your nighttime beauty ritual consist of?

Protect Your Familys Skin Against Harmful Chemicals

Mother and child

It seems the definition of a good parent has expanded in the last few decades. It used to be if you could satisfy the basic needs of your child, see they remained somewhat groomed, hugged them a few times, and remembered to pick them up from school and pack lunch, you were doing okay. But that was back in the ‘ignorance is bliss’ days, before we became aware the existence of an ozone layer and harmful chemicals that were in danger of obliterating it.

Now, you need to develop a superpower that enables you to deflect harmful ingredients from infiltrating their little bodies at the speed of light. Not likely to happen. You’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. Here are a few tips on keeping protecting your family’s skin from chemicals.

Stay Out of The Sun
The sad fact is that a lot of sunscreens out there do not protect against UV rays, and a host of them contain chemicals that can damage our skin. While it would seem that the best advice would be to stay out of the sun, that is often easier said than done when it comes to the average child. Sure, you can cover them with heavy clothes and a hat, but the likelihood is that most of it will end up on the floor of the playground. So what can you do to ensure your child stays active and chemical-free?

Couple smiling

Sunscreen 101
There are two forms of sunscreens:

  • Physical sunscreens
    These contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which form a film on top of the skin that reflects UV light.
  • Chemical Sunscreens
    These absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zinc oxide provides extensive UVA and UVB protection.

However, if you want a chemical sunscreen, be aware, while they protect against UV rays, they also contain chemicals which can be absorbed by the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream.

Check the Label For Chemicals

  • Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone
    The most problematic chemicals found in sunscreen are dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are among the most potent free radical producers and are also known to be disruptive to normal hormonal function.
  • PABA
    You’ve probably seen PABA listed quite frequently on sunscreen labels. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a dye that absorbs UV-B light. It contains a benzene ring which enables electrons to shuffle between different locations inside the structure, absorbing UV-B energy by converting light into heat. PABA can damage DNA, release free radicals, has estrogenic activity and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate
    This is the main chemical use to filter out UV-B light in sunscreens. Its toxicity level, which can increase in sunlight can kill the cell in mice.
  • Benzophenone
    Benzophenone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the products in the sunscreen from breaking down due to the sun rays. According to naturopath Nicole Bjilsma, it also disrupts hormones, interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone.

Baby

Check The Ratings
How does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates sunscreens on safety and protection. You can download their tip sheet on the best and worst chemicals in the cosmetics department, sunscreens included.

What are you doing to make sure your family’s skin stays free of harmful chemicals while avoiding the sun’s rays? Let us know how you do it.

Surprising Foods With Benefits

Can life possibly get better? First, you find out you can practically live on a diet of stuffed grape leaves and Greek yogurt, and then you find out that dark chocolate can fight free radical damage. At this rate, you’re certain that one day you’ll read a report touting the health benefits of donuts. Unfortunately, if you are counting on this article to be the bearer of that news, you may be sadly disappointed. However, although the perks of fried dough have yet to be discovered, there are some other foods that, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out, are both delicious and nutritious. Here are a few foods with benefits.

Hair
cheese

Cheese
Need a good excuse for ordering extra cheese on that pizza? According to Beautyflash.co.uk, cheese is rich in nutrients that can promote the growth of a long healthy mane.

Oysters
Is it the oysters or is it how good your hair looks? Oysters are rich in zinc which helps strengthen the protein structures in hair follicles, encouraging thick, healthy hair.

Poultry
Keep that head of hair lustrous by eating some poultry. Lack of protein causes the body to ration the protein, which may mean less of it goes to your hair, causing potential hair loss. Eating protein-rich poultry can help counter the damage.

Skin
Avocado and Yogurt

Soy Beans
The high protein and mineral content in soy beans make it a great food for reducing blemishes and evening out skin tone.

Avocados
The healthy fats in this wonderful fruit can help keep your skin plump and moisturized while protecting it from sun damage.

Greek Yogurt
Want to reduce those wrinkles? Get some Greek in you. (Greek yogurt, that is). This protein-packed superfood can make skin firmer and more resistant to wrinkles and lines.

Teeth
green tea

Green Tea
It may be green, but it will keep your teeth white. Studies show that green tea reduces plaque, lower the acidity of saliva, and controls bacteria levels. Research suggests that drinking green tea will make you less prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Cheese
Now there’s a real reason to say “cheese.’ Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is one of the most vital nutrients for supporting healthy teeth. The gooey stuff is also believed to play a role in raising the pH in your mouth, reducing likelihood of tooth decay.

Strawberries
These beauties contain malic acid, a natural cleanser with enamel whitening abilities.

Nails
Chia seeds and borccoli

Mackerel
The omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel is a great way to put an end to dry and brittle nails.

Chia Seeds
Not only are these seeds packed full of protein, calcium, and magnesium, they also support the production of collagen in your body, helping your nails stay strong and fortified.

Broccoli
If growing long nails is on your list of goals, you should start eating your broccoli. With the aid of an amino acid called cysteine and the benefits of protein, this green veggie may be your key to a perfect 10.

If you’ve got a food that you would like to find out surprising health benefits about, well, we can’t really guarantee it; but, if you’ve been pleasantly surprised to find out your favorite food may be satisfying more than your taste buds, we’d love to know! Tell us what you’re loving to eat and all the fringe benefits that you’re getting while doing it.

Everyday Ingredients To Keep Your Skin Fresh Between Facials

Is there any way to keep your skin looking “fresh from a facial” great every day? Here are some ingredients that will help you do just that.

beautiful woman

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants and are best known for their ability to fight “free radicals.” Free radicals harm DNA, and lead to wrinkles, dry, dull skin, and dark circles around the eyes. To keep skin looking fresh, it is important to not only eat foods rich in these chemicals, but also to use them on your skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This is an antioxidant produced by the body and present in every cell you have. It attacks free radicals and it known for its ability to erase wrinkles and fine lines, shrink pores, and give a healthy glow to the skin.

Green Tea Extract
Tea is rich in free radical-fighting nutrients called polyphenols. Early studies have proven the ingredients in tea able to reduce sun damage and protect from skin cancer when applied topically. Green tea extract can be used under sunscreen to double the protection and, polyphenols, when used in lotions and creams, can reduce skin sagginess and wrinkles.

Retinol
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen production and plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone and reduces dark patches. The stronger counterpoint of retinol is tretinoin, which can improve skin appearance by clearing up acne, slowing aging of skin, and improving unwanted pigmentation.

Portrait of a woman

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in boosting production of collagen and elastin, which depletes with age. Its antioxidants minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Naturally occurring in your body, CoQ 10 works to destroy free radical in your cells. However, as you age, the amount your body makes decreases, making skin more vulnerable to free radical damage. Creams, gels, and toners containing the antioxidant can be used to supplement the decrease, with one study showing that it can even help to reduce the appearance of “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

Caffeine
Although the jury is still out on whether caffeine is effective when applied to skin, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams. This is based on the evidence that caffeine may be useful in preventing skin cancer and the deepening of wrinkles, especially “crow’s feet.”

How do you keep that “fresh from the salon glow” every day? You’re looking particularly radiant.

Skin Care Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid

So you’re pregnant. Your husband and your friends keep telling you you’ve never looked better in your life, but you sure don’t feel it today. Your ankles are swollen, you have a headache, and all you see when you look down is your stomach. You know exactly what you need! A little pampering. Nothing like a nice spa session to make you feel like the goddess you are. But wait! Before you apply that mask, there are a few things you should know about the ingredients in the products you may be about to apply.

Pregnant woman in front of the mirror

Retin-A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate
The FDA categorizes ingredients according to letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, and X. Usually, only A and B categorized products are considered safe for pregnancy. Retin-A, retinol. and retinyl palmate all lie in the C category which means it can present a risk to the fetus. Although vitamin A is an important vitamin for fetal development, Albert Sassoon, MD, an ob-gyn says, “getting too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity.” While Retin-A is usually associated with prescription skin care, women should be aware that vitamin A derivatives are also present in many over the counter formulas as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though pregnancy may call for the occasional zit zapping, benzoyl peroxide also falls into category C, indicating possible fetal risk.

Woman applying oil to pregnant belly

Essential Oils
Essential oils are not subject to assessment by the FDA and are usually marketed as safe for use in beauty products. However, according to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a non-pregnancy state.” The most commonly used oils warranting cause for alarm are rosemary and tea tree oil.

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, and dermatologist, “Tea tree oil is very potent and toxic when ingested. Its adverse effects include dermatitis, drug reactions, a blistering disease called linear IgA and estrogenic effects.” which may be to blame for premature contractions. Rosemary oil, meanwhile, is known to, “raise blood pressure and cause uterine contractions at high doses,” adds the doctor.

Woman buying product

Salicylic Acid
This category C acne fighter may be hard to avoid. But, as Dandy Engelman, MD, and dermatologist says,”When you’re pregnant, you have to seek out the purer products–the ones that feature just one of the acids that are approved. Lactic, mandelic, and glycol acids are all considered safe for pregnant women looking for some exfoliating action.

Hydroquinone
Although this may be tempting to use when pregnancy causes melanoma or dark spots, it falls into the C category.

Tazorac and Accutane
Both these vitamin A-derived product are prescription only and fall into category X: known to cause defects in birth.

What safe products do you use to soothe skin while you’re pregnant? Let us know what the modern pregnant lady is using to keep herself and her baby safe.

Signs You’re Allergic To Your Skincare Product

Woman in front of mirror

We all know how difficult it can be to find a skincare product you love. After consigning half your paycheck’s worth of products to the garbage bin, you come upon something that actually works; that anti wrinkle cream that really seems to be making you look younger, that spot treatment that really seems to be getting rid of those spots. And just when you declare yourself an official customer for life, it happens: the itching, the redness, the wheezing, the inflammation – the allergic reaction. Sure, the product did what it said it would, but are you really just trading one problem for another? Here are some signs that you’re allergic to your skincare product and what you can do about it.

Aluminum Compounds
If your armpits are getting red and peeling, it may just be that you’re having an allergic reaction to the aluminum compounds in your antiperspirant, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

You can try swapping it with a natural deodorant. However, Zeichner says, “They do a fine job of masking odor, but aren’t great at preventing sweating.” If leaky pits are still problem, try a sensitive skin antiperspirant with low levels of aluminum.

Acids
It may not surprise you to note that some of the products designed to get rid of skin cells may be causing more harm than good. Salicylic acid, topical retinoids, and glycol acids all, “can cause skin irritation, dryness, redness, and/or burning if you over-use them, ” says Zeichner.

If you notice a negative reaction to topicals, you may want to consult a dermatologist and follow usage instructions carefully. It may be that you need to start with a lower dosage and gradually build up from there, or decrease usage to every other day or every few days. If you are having an allergic reaction to a glycol peel, you may want to trnon-chemicalal forms of exfoliation, like a gentle scrub or a vitamin C or fruit enzyme peel.

Fragrance
Health researchers at the University of Washington credit the use of synthetic fragrance with the development of skin and respiratory irritation in over 20% of the American population. “And fragrance doesn’t just mean perfume; it’s used in almost every beauty product under the sun, points out Siobhan O’Connor, co author of “No More Dirty Looks.” Fragrances pop up even in products that are labeled “unscented” because companies are known to use fragrance chemicals as masking agents to create neutral “non-scents.”

A word to the wise and fragrance sensitive: avoid products with the word “fragrance”on their label, and look for the term “fragrance-free” instead.

Metallics
Glitter can be a girl’s best friend, but not if she’s allergic to nickel. If you’re allergic to the metal, found in the plating of buttons and snaps and costume jewelry, you may also have an allergic reaction to cobalt, used in personal care products, such as light brown hair dyes and antiperspirants. Aluminum, lead, and chromium are other metals to be wary of.

Do a patch test with any cosmetic or mineral makeup which is likely to contain metallic elements to be sure it will not cause a reaction when you apply it to your face.

Emollients
Perry Romanowski, cosmetic chemist says, “Emollients are ingredients designed to feel good on your skin, but any go them cause breakouts, especially for acne-prone skin. Coconut butter, lanolin, cocoa butter, iso-stearyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate and myristyl lactate are all emollients to be put on the “use with caution” list.

If you’re breakout-prone, use a noncomedogenic, water-based moisturizer to keep skin hydrated without clogging your pores.

Are you allergic to your skin care product? Let us know how you prevent breakouts and what you use to replace the cosmetics that cause you irritation.

What Makes Argan Oil So Beneficial for Your Skin?

Argan oil is one of the most sought after culinary and cosmetic oils in the world. Here are some of the ingredients that make this oil so desirable and some of the ways you can take advantage of its benefits.

Argan Oil
Argan oil has been used as a healing oil throughout the centuries to treat skin conditions. The oil owes its healing properties to its high content of vitamin E and A and its wealth of antioxidants, such as omega -6 fatty acid and linoleic acid. Applied topically, the tocopherol from the vitamin E can boost cell production, promoting healthy skin and hair. Here are some of the top cosmetic uses for argan oil.

Argan oil

Night Time Moisturizer
After your nightly cleanser, pour a drop of argan oil in your palm to warm. Massage it into face and neck using a circular motion. Next, apply a drop to your face from the bridge of your nose to your temple using a tapping motion. Continue to use this gentle tapping to place a drop beneath your eyes. You will find the oil absorbs quickly without leaving a residue and that the A and E vitamins will help to reduce fine lines.

Skin Toner
To reap the benefits of argan oil in your toner, add two to four drops of the oil to eight ounces of toner or, follow this recipe to make your own chemical- free version:

Pour a cup of boiling water over a green tea bag and allow to steep for seven to ten minutes. Remove the bag and allow the tea to come to room temperature. Add a drop or two of an essential oil of your choice, add two to four drops of the argan oil and seal in a jar. Use twice daily after cleansing and before moisturizing.

face serum

Improving Acne-Prone Skin
Another benefit of argan oil is its ability to reduce sebum levels and fight acne. The high linoleic acid content can reduce inflammation due to acne while healing damaged skin cells. Simply apply a drop into problem areas, or fight whiteheads by making the skin toner (see above) using a few drops of tea tree oil. The tree tea oil will complement the argan oil with its supply of antioxidants, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Healing Stretch Marks
Argan oil helps restore elasticity to the skin lost to stretching. Warm two to three drops of the oil in your palms and rub on problem areas. The vitamin A and E will prevent stretch marks from forming. If you have already existing stretch marks, massage argan oil and brown sugar to the affected area before bathing. Rinse and reapply the oil to the area before dressing.

Caring for Your Nails
The non-greasy moisturizing agents in this oil make it ideal for treating nails and cuticles. Remove all traces of nail polish from hands and toes and dot a tiny drop into each nail, rubbing into cuticle and nail bed. Allow nails to absorb the oil, then rinse and apply polish as usual. Regular treatment should help your nails grow strong and beautiful, while preventing the formation of painful hangnails.

Have you used argan oil? Are the goats on to something? Their hair is fabulous and their hooves are really strong.

Five Steps To A Great Skincare Routine

There is nothing new about the “less is more” concept. Even before Susie Faux termed the phrase “capsule wardrobe” in the seventies, people have realized the wisdom of quality over quantity and the freedom derived from having less. So why is it that so many people are obsessed with multi-step beauty routines?

Of course, if you have the time and patience, you’re welcome to spend as much of it on skin care as you like, but, if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with keeping it scaled down. Remember, you own your beauty routine, it doesn’t own you. So, if you believe in keeping it short and sweet, here’s are five steps that will help you maximize while you minimize.

Woman cleansing skin

Cleanse
Cleansing skin is the most basic step in a skin routine. It should be done twice daily, once in the morning and once at night, to give skin time to heal and breath without being clogged by makeup and debris.

Cleansing should be done with clean hands. Begin by wetting skin with warm water to open the pores. Apply a cleanser appropriate to your skin type using upward circular motions. Some products will be more effective if you leave them on for a minute or two to allow penetration. Remove with damp cotton pads or by splashing your face with cold water. (Cold water will close up pores.) Pat dry gently with a clean towel.

Tone
Toning restores your skin’s pH balance, which is usually altered during the cleansing process. This step can also make your skin more resistant to bacteria. Some toners will only restore your skin’s pH, others will kill bacteria, still others may contain an extra ingredient to prevent acne. Choose the one that suits your skin, and, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a specially formulated toner.

Apply toner to entire face with a cotton pad, taking care to avoid your eyes. Do not rinse off.

Woman moisturizing

Moisturize
Moisturizing is the most important step in the beauty routine, and should not be omitted, even if your skin is oily. There is quite a variety of moisturizing products, such as gels (oily skin), creams (dry/sensitive skin), and serums (normal/oily skin). Some may contain anti wrinkle, and anti acne agents, others may tint, or tan, skin.

Apply moisturizer to the face and neck, after toner has dried, using a circular motion. You may want to follow up with a separate moisturizer targeted toward preventing swelling and aging in the eye area.

Exfoliate
Once or twice weekly, use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. Make sure not to use anything too harsh, which can irritate skin and tear skin cells.

Remove makeup and massage the exfoliator gently into your face using an outward circular motion for about thirty seconds. Remember, gently is the key word here! If you’re using an exfoliating wash cloth, soak it in warm water and rub it in small circles on your face. Be sure to target creases by your nose and other areas on which blackheads tend to develop.

Face mask

Face Mask
Peel off masks are the best option for unclogging pores, and are the best for oily or acne prone skin. Those with dry skin will benefit most from moisturizing masks.

Choose a natural, mild mask. Keep applications down to once a week or less; frequent applications will result in over cleansing your face. You can make your own, in the interest of keeping it natural, or use a store bought one, following directions on the package.

What do you think of the five-step skin routine? Is less more, or is more more? Let us know what you think?