The Basics of Everyday Skincare
By Mandy Rhodes, Jacksonville, FL Based Holistic Licensed Esthetician
Skin type, texture, and skincare needs are different for everyone. It would be great if there was a one size fits all skincare routine for every single person, unfortunately, it does not work that way. If you asked every person you know about their skincare routine, we could almost guarantee that each person would have a different answer. Some people could have a routine that only involves rinsing their face with water morning and night, and others might swear by their expensive serums, moisturizers, eye creams, sunscreens, and toners. Genetics also play a huge role in what our skin texture and aging can look like. Climate is yet another factor in determining skincare needs.
Going to a store like Sephora or even Walgreens can be extremely confusing. Choosing between the thousands of products in the skincare aisle can be overwhelming and trying to understand the ingredients can be a daunting task. Making the choice of what you’re going to apply to your biggest organ (your skin) is an important one.
Don’t worry, we are here to help!!
There are a few basic rules for skincare that you should know, and everyone can benefit from. We have broken it down into a simple formula that’s easy to understand.
1. CLEANSING: Use a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and toxins.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Cleansing your face morning and night is a step that you never want to skip because it removes the dirt and oil that builds up over the course of the day and night and any toxins or allergens that you have encountered throughout the day. When choosing a product, be sure to stick to a gentle cleansing formula so you don’t disrupt or strip your skin’s natural protective barrier. A cleanser does not need to be expensive or fancy. It is made to remove things that should not be on the skin and balance the skin out. It doesn’t stay on the skin so expensive, formulated ingredients aren’t going to do much.
2. EXFOLIATING ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK: You want to remove any dead skin build-up. There are different ways to do this. You can use a mechanical exfoliant like a scrub, or a topical exfoliant that will gently remove the dead skin and buildup.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: In addition to clearing away dead and dry skin, a regular exfoliation routine can improve your skin’s clarity, radiance, and youthfulness by unclogging pores and boosting circulation and lymphatic drainage. The process of removing dead and dry skin allows your other skincare products to penetrate more deeply and effectively by removing outer layers that may block the products from reaching the areas it needs to. Over time, exfoliation helps stimulate collagen, improving your skin’s texture and lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
3. TREATMENT: Designed to nourish, protect, and hydrate your skin, a face serum or mask offers a concentrated dose of active ingredients that should be applied between cleansing and moisturizing.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Think of a serum or mask as your secret weapon to combat skin issues such as discoloration, dullness, fine lines, or acne. There are different types of serums with amazing ingredients that brighten and hydrate while combatting issues such as aging, acne, rosacea, or autoimmune skin disorders.
There are a lot of buzzwords in the skincare industry. Try to skip the hype and look out for some key ingredients that can really make a difference. A few to look out for are:
Retinol Topical retinoids (including retinol) help your skin speed up its normal cell-turnover process, meaning it will shed skin cells more quickly. That helps tackle issues like fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and acne. Researchers also think retinol can help increase collagen production, which further reduces signs of aging.
Vitamin C Is an antioxidant to counteract and protect against free radicals. Plus, it can also be used to effectively brighten dark spots over time.
Niacinamide Is a form of vitamin B3 that has shown to fight free radical damage, brighten dark spots, and manage acne. Those with sensitive skin will be pleased to know that some research shows it can brighten skin with fewer side effects or irritation than other first-line treatments, like hydroquinone.
Salicylic acid Can be used as an acne treatment, this beta-hydroxy-acid (BHA) has some serious exfoliating powers, which makes it a good option for managing signs of aging as well. There’s evidence to suggest it can also boost the production of collagen.
Glycolic acid Is one of two major alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs). Glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliant that’s regularly used in products like peels and exfoliating toners, pads, cleansers, and creams. It works by dissolving the bonds between skin cells.
Lactic Acid Is another, often gentler, AHA. It works similarly to other chemical exfoliants—meaning it removes dirt and dead skin cells—but tends to be easier on sensitive skin.
Azelaic acid Is another type of acid that’s useful for exfoliating purposes. In fact, it comes in a few different prescription forms, which are prescribed to treat acne and rosacea (especially the type of rosacea that comes with acne-like bumps).
Hyaluronic acid Is one of the most common humectant ingredients out there today and helps maintain hydration in your skin. It’s also a compound that’s found naturally in the skin, which makes it unlikely to cause irritation or allergic reactions.
Ceramides Work as a barrier to seal in moisture and protect your skin.
4. PROTECTION: Moisturizer and sunscreen.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Moisturizer is what holds moisture in creating a barrier to protect your skin from the elements. This should be the last step in your daily skincare routine. Choosing one that is appropriate for your needs and time of day is important. For example, if you are going to be in the sun, having a moisturizer with an SPF can be a game-changer for protecting your skin. Choosing one that is appropriate for your skin type and age is just as important. You will most likely be using a more nutrient-dense moisturizer for the evening and one that is going to protect from the sun’s rays for daytime.
We believe that less can be more, or quality over quantity is a great rule of thumb. Self-care rituals are important not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. Taking care of your skin falls under self-care and improves self-worth.
WHERE DO PROFESSIONAL FACIALS FIT INTO YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE?
What you do on a daily and weekly basis for your skin is always the most important step to the complexion of your dreams. However, getting a series of professional facials can help you to correct imbalances such as acne, blackheads, dullness, wrinkles or discoloration. Even if you don't have any major skin concerns, a facial on a monthly or quarterly basis can be an important part of your overall skincare plan. Facials help to improve circulation to the skin and face muscles with facial massage, resurface and extract impurities from the skin and help to deeply moisturize in a way that's hard to always do at home. Professional facials can help to fill any gaps in your at-home regimen, and give your skin a supercharge of health and vitality.
We would love to help you find your best skincare regimen and we offer complimentary skincare consultations in Jacksonville, Florida. Schedule online now or give us a call.
5 Holistic Alternatives to Botox
By Mandy Rhodes, Holistic Licensed Esthetician at The Wellness Hub and author of Pretty Simple Beauti
1. Body Brushing
What in the world is dry body & face brushing? Also known as dry skin brushing, body & face brushing involves lightly brushing your skin with a dry brush, made from natural hair bristles, to help remove dead skin cells, improve skin tone, and target cellulite.
The technique has been used for hundreds of years and is also thought to help stimulate circulation and kick-start the metabolism.
There are many health benefits associated with body brushing including glowing skin, reduction in water weight, detoxifying your body, and diminishing cellulite. Your skin is your largest organ and plays an important role in helping to remove toxins from the body.
For this reason, it is important that the upper layer of the skin (the epidermis) is regularly cleared of dead skin cells which block pores and cause the skin to become congested.
By brushing the body & face lightly with a dry brush daily you can help your skin to:
This may sound strange and scary to some, but the results can make a huge difference. Face cupping is an ancient technique that uses suction cups to stimulate your skin and muscles. It can be done on your face or body. Note if you have ever had body cupping, face cupping is much gentler and should not leave marks.
The suction promotes increased blood circulation, which may help relieve muscle tension, promote cell repair, and aid in other regeneration.
The suction effect pulls blood into the area of skin underneath the cup. This saturates the surrounding tissue with fresh blood and promotes new blood vessel formation.
Facial cupping has been shown to:
3. Gua Sha
Gua Sha for the face and neck is called the Eastern Botox for a reason. This ancient Chinese therapy uses a tool to rub or scrape the skin’s surface in long strokes. Traditional medicine practitioners have used this method for centuries to boost circulation, increase blood flow, break up scar tissue, help chronic pain and generally improve the health of the entire body. Not to mention it is completely relaxing and feels like a massage for the face.
A few of the benefits you can have from using Gua Sha are:
If you're interested in having Gua Sha incorporated into your facial service, we offer that at The Wellness Hub in Jacksonville, FL - it's called our Natural Sculpting & Resurfacing Facial.
4. Face Yoga
Let’s start with what face yoga is. To put it plainly, face yoga is exercises for your face. Just like exercising keeps your body in shape, face yoga is a series of facial exercises intended to tone the muscles in the face which after time can reduce the signs of aging and improve skin elasticity. You can even slim up your jawline and define your cheekbones.
Facial exercises increase blood circulation in the face, creating a healthier, more vibrant complexion. Face yoga also strengthens the muscles in the face, which can weaken as we age.
This is a no-brainer, but one that we all seem to forget about. The importance of water for our bodies and our skin to stay hydrated.
That beautiful skin you’re in is made up of about 64% water. And without enough fluids in your system, your skin can lose its elasticity. So, all those expensive creams your slathering on every night would be a waste of time and money.
The more elasticity your skin has, the less likely it is to form fine lines and wrinkles. That said, staying hydrated will help keep your skin plump and prevent signs of aging. And of course, drinking a lot of water helps flush toxins from your body which improve your appearance as well.
Staying hydrated will help plump up your skin so that it looks and feels smoother. This is because the outermost layer of the skin has the moisture it needs to flush away toxins and carry nutrients to the skin’s cells. Skin that is well-hydrated also is less sensitive to irritants and germs that can slip through the lipid barrier when the skin lacks moisture.
Skin that is lacking the hydration it needs often becomes itchy, flaky, red, or even inflamed. Dry skin can even exaggerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to shrinkage of skin cells. An easy remedy to all of this is to drink water.
Facials services are so lovely. Imagine going into a deep, deep state of relaxation and then coming out with skin that looks amazing for weeks afterward! At our organic and holistic spa in Jacksonville, Florida we use the best natural products and these steps to give you to best facial of your life!
Here are the steps of a facial and what to expect:
1.) It Starts with a Consultation
At the beginning of your service, your esthetician will talk to you about the condition of your skin and your skincare goals. You will discuss lifestyle factors that could be contributing to skin concerns and you'll also go over the current products you're using on your skin.
Your esthetician will cleanse your skin of any makeup or dirt. Often a double cleanse with two different cleansing products is used to make sure the skin is thoroughly clean.
Your esthetician will look at your skin under a bright lamp (with your eyes covered, for comfort) to analyze your skin. She'll be determining your skin type (normal, combination, oily, dry, etc) and also looking for any skin conditions that might be present (acne, blackheads, whiteheads, aging, sun damage, dehydration, etc). Doing this analysis will help her select the appropriate products for your skin.
Depending on what type of facial you're getting steam might not be included, but often than not, it will be. A facial steamer is a machine that directs a thin vapor of warm steam to your face. This is relaxing and helps softens up any blackheads and whiteheads to be extracted. The steam helps to open your pores to help them be cleansed and also better absorb the masks and serums that will be applied.
Your esthetician will use a product that is appropriate to your skin type that helps to slough off any dead skin cells that may be dulling your complexion. They may use a manual exfoliant like a scrub or a natural plant enzyme or peel, depending on the service you're receiving, as well as your skincare goals. The previous step of steam helps the exfoliant work better.
If necessary, your esthetician may perform extractions. Extractions are the removal of blackheads and whiteheads to relieve congestion in the skin and promote a clearer complexion. This can be a little bit of a sensitive process, and your esthetician will discuss with you beforehand what to expect.
7.) Facial Massage
Your esthetician will perform a facial massage to help bring circulation to the skin as well as promoting lymphatic drainage to tone, lift and smooth the skin. This is a deeply relaxing part of your facial! Techniques such as facial gua sha, facial cupping or facial reflexology may be used during this part of the facial, depending on which service you're receiving.
8.) Facial Treatment Mask
A treatment mask appropriate for your skincare concerns will be applied, such as one that addresses acne or dryness. While the mask is working, your esthetician will massage your neck, shoulders, arms and hands for additional relaxation. A scalp massage can be added on here as well.
9.) Application of Moisturizers, Toners, Serums and Sunscreen
Now that you're thoroughly relaxed, your esthetician will select appropriate products for your skin type and skin concerns and apply them to the skin.
Bonus Step: Recommendation of Homecare and Products
Ask your esthetician which products and skincare routines they recommend to maintain your new skin glow. Facials set you up to have the best skin, but your daily skincare routine and products are going to make the biggest difference over time!
How Often Should I Receive a Facial?
This answer really depends on what your skin goals are. If your skin is normal and in good condition, about 4 times a year (at season change) should be sufficient. If you have more challenging skin, getting a facial once a month for maintenance should be appropriate, however, to correct skin issues your estheticians may recommend a series of treatments once a week before you get the maintenance phase.
What Makes Our Spa Different?
At our wellness spa in Jacksonville, Florid we are committed to using natural and organic skincare products and holistic techniques in our facial services. We care about your health and wellbeing, and that the cost of beauty should never be your health!
The Wellness Hub Center for Integrative Medicine and Holistic Spa in Jacksonville, Florida