Friday, February 21, 2014

Skin Myths Revealed

Skin myths abound on the internet.  

Here's why believing a few of them aren't helping your glow...

Myth #1 - I have sensitive skin.  No, you don't.  With the exception of like 3 of my actual clients (and I work a LOT), you actually don't have sensitive skin.  You're coming in because it looks and feels like you have sensitive skin.  You're red, irritated, peely, chapped, inflammed, hot, aggrivated.  BUT, great news, you don't actually have sensitive skin!  In reality, 97% of the individuals I see who claim to have sensitive skin are experiencing SENSITIZED skin as a result of one or more skin aggressors.  Most commonly, these are fragrance ingredients in their skincare products, particularly linalool and limonene, which are aromatic constituents of citrus and some flower essential oils.  Great news - eliminate the irritants, eliminate the irritation.   And on to...

(lactic acid also looks like this)
Myth #2 - I can't exfoliate because my skin is too sensitive.  Wrong again!  Once we have your sensitized skin under control, we not only CAN, but MUST carefully reintroduce ingredients that stimulate cell turnover.  What a waste to have all the redness, irritation, and heat go away only to leave the peely, dry skin behind.  And as we covered in Winter Skincare, leaving that stratum corneum to build up on its own is no way to go for soft, smooth skin.  

Acne is complicated!  Thanks, Precision Nutrition
Myth #3 - My acne is hormonal, so you can't help me.  Wrong!  It would make my life easier if this one were true, but the facts of acne are that a) all acne is genetic, and b) all acne is hormonal.  We acne-prone individuals have oil glands that produce more sebum, and skin cells that shed less effectively, so when we combine those genetic factors with hormone changes and their tendency to thicken up the sebum in that is produced (which further glues together the trying-to-escape cells) AND thin the pore lining so that inflammation is almost inevitable when those glommed-up skin cell plugs (also known as comedones) rupture (which they will, if they are allowed to remain in your skin).  Acne care is not only possible but recommended with a highly trained esthetician who knows the condition, its roots, and the best treatment strategies to achieve and maintain clear skin.

Myth #4 - My hyperpigmentation will never clear up.  Not with that attitude, it won't!  But the truth of the matter is that most hyperpigmentation cases that walk into my door are being treated sporadically.  They'll get the Retin-A and the Hydroquinone from the dermatologist, and then they'll notice that their skin is dry and flaking and stop using the Retin-A, and then they'll read in Allure that the hydroquinone will give them cancer, and stop using that, and go weeks and weeks, and then feel guilty and throw it all back onto their face, experience more irritation and retinoid dermatitis, and repeat.  We have access to a wide array of retinoids and skin lighteners as estheticians with advanced training, however our treatment strategy typically differs from that of a dermatologist in that we favor a slow, conservative approach.  There's nothing wrong with the
dermatologist's ingredients or pacing, but we just find that this slower strategy works well in our environment because typically we can see you more frequently than you would be able to visit the derm.  It is common for me to start off with our mildest strength retinoid, allowing the retinoid dermatitis to pass over the course of 3 weeks' time before adding a pigment inhibitor.  Although I do have hydroquinone-based pigment inhibitors at my disposal, my preference is to slowly build into using a wide array of alternative pigment inhibitors before making a decision to introduce hydroquinone - simply because there is such a huge range of pigment inhibitors that can be combined together and with a mild retinoid to make a significant difference.

Myth #5 - I can't wear moisturizer because I am acne-prone.  Wrong!  Your oily skin is likely still dehydrated, especially if you are using acne meds topically or orally.  In this case, it's important to provide skin with a topical dose of
humectant moisturization that can be readily absorbed to keep skin from becoming excessively tight, dry, or irritated.  Serums and light moisturizers with humectants like hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory ingredients like allantoin are just what the esthetician ordered to complete your acne regimen and give you the smooth, healthy skin you've been searching for.

Questions?  Comments?  Ask the Aesthetician!  Visit to learn more and schedule a visit.  With your permission, I may even write a follow-up post that addresses your specific concerns.

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