How To Easily Restore Your Acid Mantle

Have you ever heard of the acid mantle? If you have, well done, most people haven’t. The acid mantle while not well known, is the reason for a lot of skin issues. Things such as dryness, oiliness, acne, premature aging and much more can be attributed to an acid mantle that isn’t working at its highest capacity.

Skin has a PH, a balance that keeps everything normal and healthy. The acid mantle is a barrier that is made mostly from sebum. Your skin’s PH is naturally a little more on the acidic side and that’s where it likes to stay. Unfortunately most of what we do and interact with on a daily basis plays with that PH. Skincare products, (especially acne products and exfoliants) the environment, toxins, and lifestyle break down that protective barrier. Once this happens you’re likely to encounter some indicators that things are going wrong. Your skin could feel too dry or too oily, breakouts could follow as well as redness and irritation. Since it really is your skin’s first line of defense, it’s not unpredictable that once damaged, things like viruses and bacteria can get in quicker. A classic indicator that your skin’s PH is off is a feeling of tightness or if it is suddenly producing more oil than what is normal for your skin.

The good news is , as delicate as the acid mantle is, it can be restored. It’s safe to say a few years ago my acid mantle was quite off. When I was around 15 and getting breakouts on my forehead I decided I would do the old toothpaste trick. Instead though, I decided to do the nuclear option and put a thin coat of toothpaste on my ENTIRE forehead. As redness and more breakouts showed up I continued to do this along with sulfur spot treatments. My skin was not happy as it shouldn’t have been. About two years later after many more prescription acne products I started doing some research and realized there was a possibility part of the acne could be contributed to my skin’s PH being out of balance.

After reading that there was a fine balance of oil and moisture going on I decided to use plain grapeseed oil to give back what had been lost. Feeding oil back into something that needs oil allows your skin to relax. It’s the reason a lot of times cleansing oils will be recommended to people with oily skin. I immediately noticed a difference. It was like hitting a reset button on my skin. Technically the acid mantle can restore itself in anywhere to 15 minutes to around 15 days, however I felt that everything came back to life in about a month, but after the abuse it had endured it’s not surprising it took a little longer.

Using the oil and completely removing stripping acne products was pretty much all I had to do to get my skin back to a place I could work with it again. It can be scary to go off the acne topical medications and things of that nature, but they could be the very thing causing the acne to be there in the first place. I would recommend using a plain grapeseed, jojoba or olive oil at night after cleansing with a cleansing milk. Use a toner if you wish, just make sure that it does not contain alcohol or witch hazel. Also, you don’t have to douse your face in oil, your skin knows what to do with even a little bit. You can dab off excess with a paper towel to ensure that what goes on your skin goes in your skin. It’s that simple. Once you notice a difference in your skin and it is in a place where you feel healing has taken place you can introduce other products again, but this time around go a lot gentler.

*One more word to the wise, wear something you don’t care about to sleep in just in case it does get oil on it.*

 

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Biossance 100% Squalane/ Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil Review

When I first heard about squalane it was in aesthetics school. It stood out in my mind as one of the stranger ingredients we learned about because most squalane is derived from shark, more specifically the shark liver. Pretty gross, but then a lot of strange stuff is marketed all in the name of beauty. Previously I would have never considered trying squalane, but then I was doing some research and I found the brand Biossance which uses squalane formulated from sugarcane and it definitely peaked my interest. Thankfully they had free samples of both their 100% Squalane Oil & their Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. I had to try it.

The 100% Squalane can be used on hair, skin and nails. The first thing I noticed was the consistency was unlike any oil I had used before. It was extremely light and pretty much scentless. I liked the weightlessness of the oil. When I applied it to my skin it blended beautifully and gave my skin a healthy shimmer rather than an oily appearance. I put it all over my hands including my nails. I noticed a definite difference in my nails, they were moisturized and smooth even after taking nail polish off which usually leaves them dry. I generally wait a few days in between doing my nails to let them breathe, but after using the oil on them I feel like I could do them back to back without a problem.

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The Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil had a lovely pure rose smell. Initially I couldn’t put my finger on what happened when I applied the oil to my face, but it made my face almost “bouncy?” What I was experiencing was the firming/smoothing effect it has on the skin. I hadn’t come across a product that worked that effectively and quickly. As mentioned with the 100% Squalane it was extremely lightweight and my skin ate it up, it was really unique to use an oil that didn’t have an oily feel to it.

Overall I loved both products, I’m partial to the oil with the Vitamin C and rose oil, but it could be because of the smell. I love that Biossance uses sugarcane as a nice alternative and gives everyone a chance to try before buying, especially those who have never used squalane before. I definitely plan on getting the full sized oils next time.

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How To Test New Products Safely and Effectively

The holidays are approaching quickly and there’s a good chance you’ll receive some new beauty products. If your family and friends have been good they’ve been attentively listening to what you’ve been hoping for. There’s nothing better than getting to try out something new that could possibly be the miracle product you’ve been searching for. However, when you test out all your new goodies all at once and a mystery rash shows up a few days later you don’t know where to point to. Take these few tips along with you into the new year and any time you try something new to pinpoint what’s giving you trouble.

 

  1. Do a test patch. A reaction on half your face or part of your face isn’t good, but that reaction on your entire face and d√©coll√©te is even worse. A test patch is a way to put your toe in the water before going all the way in. I suggest doing the test patch where you intend on using the product. For example testing a face serum on your wrist isn’t going to give you the best results. Your face handles things a lot different than the rest of your body. Especially when we are talking about products that are supposed to have a dramatic effect in a short amount of time, like an acne treatment. If you’re concerned about having a serious allergic reaction a test patch on another part of your body will most likely rule that out, but that’s about it. For the most accuracy it’s good to put it to work where it needs to.
  2. One at a time. If you want to test an eyeshadow, lipstick and brow pencil out all on the same day that’s more than fine, but if you’re testing that all goes in the same place it may make things harder. For example if you test an eyeliner and mascara on the same day and something is irritating you it’s going to be difficult to figure out which is the culprit.
  3. Do not layer. This piggybacks off of the the previous thought, but is important enough to mention on its own. How can you tell which new product is¬† If you use a liquid foundation and primer use them both separately in the beginning for the purpose of testing them out. Try the primer out with an old foundation that you know doesn’t bother you and vice versa.
  4. At least skim the ingredients. It’s a pain, yes, but it’s always good to get an idea of what’s in the product you’ll be wearing. You know what works for you and what ingredients to watch out for. A product’s hype or popularity won’t negate the aggravating ingredients.

Happy Holidays and Happy Testing!

Same Product for Face and Body…Time Saver or Time Waster?

Lately more and more products are multitasking, covering a couple of different needs. There are body washes that double as shampoos and bars that allow you to use the suds as you please either for your body, your hair or even a shave. Is all this multitasking a good idea? Is it a stroke of genius resulting in an all in one product or just putting off the inevitable of having to purchase for every part?

In hotels I’ve been forced to use those shampoos/body washes/ hand soaps. Usually it’d go on a scale of being fine for my hands, a little drying on my body and being terrible for my hair. However in hotels it’s mostly about keeping things industrial and cost efficient, so can’t exactly point to that.

Men as a whole are really into anything that makes their already relatively fast “beauty” regime even faster. It’s not uncommon that I run into guys that use the same bar of soap for pretty much everything. Companies that market to them giving their seal of approval stating that you can double everything up and get it all done in one shot just reinforces that. Now, that being said I’d also like to speed up and price down my daily skincare routine.

Recently I ran out of my face cream and the next batch wouldn’t show up until a few days later. I couldn’t not use anything. I had a body lotion that I noticed was technically okay to use on the body and or the face. Usually in these cases it results in a very thin, liquidy moisturizer for your face but your body feels okay or your body is coated in an obviously too thick face moisturizer while your face couldn’t feel better. I hadn’t tried anything out that was truly interchangeable. To my surprise the lotion didn’t break me out, it was a little more watery than I like for my face, but it did a good job of keeping it moisturized. I was in shock. I’ve been using it now for the past few days.

What has continued to cross my mind is that the skin on your body and the skin on your face is different. Different areas need different care. Even on your face there are areas that respond differently (take for instance the delicate skin around your eyes as compared to your forehead.) What I have ultimately decided on is that although there weren’t any negative side effects of using this body/face lotion I want to provide my skin with as close to the best as possible. Somehow I think that if the formulation is “decent” or able to be used anywhere it has to be lacking in one department or another. In a pinch I think it’s a great option, or even on vacation when you need to pack light, but for the time being I believe the best way is to go specific, even if it ends up taking a little longer.

Review: Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash

You know that feeling when you washed your face with bar soap? (Hopefully you don’t) That tight, almost tacky feeling that leaves your skin not feeling like skin. That is what this product left my face feeling like.

It lathers well, it smells nice, but it really stripped my skin. After I wash my face with this it just has that feeling that there’s no oil or any sign of moisture. I’m reaching for the toner before I even finish washing. I do find that the stripping does cause breakouts for me because it just is too strong. Supposedly there is a cooling sensation this face wash is supposed to give off which I haven’t felt yet, but for me that’s not a huge drawback.

I found this kind of unusual considering the brand is for people that have really overtaxed skin that needs help. I also own the Pure Cloud Cream from Skyn which I can say is terrific.

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When you lather this face wash into the lovely lather I mentioned earlier it feels very smooth, a little thick, there’s a sheen to the product resembles a heavy duty hand soap.

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I’m already halfway through the tube so I’ll use the product up for the heck of it, but I don’t see my opinion of it changing.

 

 

Review: clariSEA Deep Pore Lavender Detox Charcoal Cleanser

I first found this brand when using their Deep Pore Detox Exfoliating Charcoal Mask. It’s a powdery exfoliant that you pour out, you have the option to add it to a cleanser or use it on its own and mixing it with water. I liked that I could control the amount of exfoliation I got by being able to mix it myself, but I also just really liked the product. It did a great job of exfoliating my face and had only a few ingredients.

I was looking online and I happened to stumble across a great deal for the Deep Pore Lavender Detox Charcoal Cleanser. It was from the same brand (clariSEA) and had again, very few ingredients, some of theme being the same as the exfoliating mask. It was an easy decision.

When it arrived I opened the package and was ready to use it. The consistency is pretty gooey, kind of sticky. It has a definite lavender smell. When I actually went to wash my face with it it seemed a little difficult to completely remove, it felt like remnants of the wash was still on my face. I didn’t feel like it exfoliated my skin that well or cleansed it that great for that matter.

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Over the next few times I used it I tried to find how to use it to get good results, convinced I was doing something wrong. I left it on for 10 minutes, then washed it off, the time after that I cleansed and washed it off right after, I used it a few days in a row, then reduced it to only twice a week. It didn’t matter what I did, it didn’t cleanse my skin well. It didn’t exfoliate it, it just left my skin dry. I can’t say that it made my skin break out further, but it didn’t do it any favors either. I considered the fact that it does contain salicylic acid, but it is a low strength and I usually respond very well to that. I’m not quite sure what went wrong with this product, but I have to say I’m a bit disappointed and don’t see a point in using it anymore if it’s not working. I would definitely try this brand again because I believe they have good products, but I most likely wouldn’t get a cleanser again.

How To Control A Breakout

First, don’t panic and stay calm. After that you can create a strategy to prevent it from happening again.¬†

This post was inspired by the pimple on my forehead. I didn’t realize it, but there is an actual process that goes through my head when I break out.

Like many, I ¬†start out wondering why this happened. However, I don’t wonder in a “why me?” way. I’ll take a moment and play back the tape. Why did I get this? Did I exfoliate and this was bought to the surface? Did I use something that didn’t agree with my skin? Was my skin too oily? Too dry? If you can narrow down why you got it can help prevent another breakout, as well as helping you to understand your skin better and see its patterns.

I believe you really can minimize a breakout. Once you see it forming or the slightest sign, nip it in the bud.

Use spot treatments.¬†There’s nothing like applying just what you need to the specific area that needs it. I’d recommend something with a slightly stronger amount of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or even sulfur.

Wash your face with something stronger.¬†Go with something slightly stronger than you’d normally use. Most days I use a milky cleanser, but during the time I breakout I will use something that will help me out a little more.

Tone your face. This will rebalance the skin’s pH.

Keep your schedule the same.¬†Don’t feel the need to scrub your face every hour to get rid of the breakout. If you wash your face twice a day, keep it like that. Going too harsh too fast will just give your face more to deal with.

Lighten up on cosmetics.¬†You might feel like you want to cover up every square inch of your face, but it’s better if you hold back a bit. Usually I don’t skip wearing foundation when I breakout, but when I get home I make sure to take off my makeup. This gives everything time to breathe.

Pop it. Before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t an excuse to go popping all your pimples. There are some¬†prerequisites to take into account. The pimple(s) must be ready. They must be at the point where just the slightest pressure will cause them to pop. You must sterilize your tools and hands. No picking or using dirty utensils.

*This gets a little graphic, but it’s the only way to describe that you’ve done it right. If you decide that your pimple is ready to go you’ll want to squeeze to the point of seeing blood or an oily substance, that’s when you know you’ve gotten everything out. Be gentle, you may need to take breaks in between. Afterwards put something to disinfect the area to prevent infection.

Some people say never to pop a pimple, that it extends the life of it, but I’ve found on a few occasions it shortens it. If I’m thorough, if can relieve the pain by popping it, if it was ready and I make sure it’s done in a way that’s sanitary, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

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What I’ve been using to keep breakouts under control.

*La Roche-Posay Effaclear Duo (Spot treatment)

*Skin Ceuticals Purifying Cleanser (stronger cleanser)

*Skin Ceuticals LHA Solution Toner &Blemish+ Age Solution Toner (I alternate between the two toners)

*Skin Ceuticals Blemish+Age Defense Serum (can be used as a spot treatment as well as its main use as a serum)