Category Archives: Skin Care

Do I Need To Wash My Face If I Don’t Leave My House?

I paused before applying SPF this morning, about to take my dog for her morning walk. When was the last time I washed my face?

Only three days into a weeks long “shelter in place” mandate for San Francisco county and my skin care routine is already suffering.

How should you care for your skin during this uncertain time?

Continue your normal daily routine whether you are working from home or providing an essential service out in the world. Your skin produces sebum, sheds dead cells, and collects dirt either way.

Are you spending more time in front of a computer, tablet, or phone screen? For most of us working from home, screen time has increased so adjust your topical antioxidants accordingly.

When you return home after being outside for any reason, wash your hands then wash your face. A clean face can help keep germs away from your nose and mouth.

Wash your hands before you apply any product to your face, even if you have been at home all day. If your facial skin becomes dry from extra cleansing, switch to a cream cleanser.

Extra washing will dehydrate the skin on your hands so add a rich hand cream to your routine both morning and night. Apply a protective ointment like Aquaphor to your cuticles.

Make sure your water intake is adequate. Changes to our normal routine make it easy to forget to stay hydrated.

Running low on skin care products? The online store is open for business.

Need a new skincare routine? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah.

FIVE Simple Anti-Aging Tips

ONE: Clean your face morning and night. Find a cleansing routine that works for your skin type and do it twice a day. Don’t sleep with a dirty face!

TWO: Wear SPF every day. This is no joke. Use a physical SPF year round, no matter the climate. All the fancy night creams won’t save your skin if you don’t use daily SPF.

THREE: Use an antioxidant during the day. Antioxidants reduce inflammation, boost the effectiveness of your SPF, and fight free radical damage. Use an antioxidant serum or lotion under your SPF every day.

FOUR: Use retinol at night. Retinol comes in many strengths and formulas, find one that works for you. It will keep acne and wrinkles at bay.

FIVE: Drink water. Drink half your body weight in ounces every day, more if you have caffeine or alcohol. No skin care product or makeup can help if your system is dehydrated.

The term “anti-aging” conjures thoughts of expensive creams and invasive procedures. The sum of your daily routine also has a profound affect on how you age. Commit to a consistent, daily routine for your best skin now and in the future.

Will Sleeping In Makeup Ruin My Skin?

Dolly Parton famously admits to sleeping with a full face of makeup just in case of a midnight emergency but it’s generally considered a bad idea.

Most dermatologists agree, sleeping in your makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.

Why is it so bad to sleep with makeup on?

Foundation and concealer are occlusive so they can block pores and lead to acne. These products are designed to be worn for a limited amount of time then removed to give the skin a chance to recover.

Bacteria, dirt, and pollution can get trapped under makeup and do serious damage to skin, including cause a possible infection.

Sleeping in makeup (or with dirty skin in general) can also accelerate the aging process. Clean skin has the opportunity to renew itself while you sleep, dirt and bacteria get in the way of this process.

Take the time to wash your face before bed. It’s a simple way to get healthier skin, fewer breakouts, and more youthful skin in the long run.

Is Your Pillowcase Affecting Your Skin?

One third of our lifetime is spent sleeping so it makes sense to consider the surface where we lie our carefully treated skin!

Nighttime skin care routines involve cleansing then carefully applying skin care products, but what happens for the next 8 hours?

How does your sleeping surface affect your skin?

Skin continues to produce oil while you sleep. Cotton fabric absorbs oil. Whatever is on your hair (hair products, oil, dirt etc.) ends up on you pillowcase and eventually on your face.

Change your pillowcase at least once a week.

Do I need a silk pillowcase?

A small clinical trial showed a reduction in breakouts when participants with acne slept on a silk pillowcase. Silk absorbs less oil and dirt than cotton and also reduces friction on your skin and hair.

If you are acne prone, a silk pillowcase could help. The bottom line is, silk or cotton, make sure your sleeping surface is clean for the healthiest skin possible.

Does Drinking Alcohol Impact Your Skin?

There’s always a reason to celebrate with a festive cocktail or a glass of wine but how does drinking alcohol affect your skin?

First, drinking alcohol is a diuretic so it dehydrates your entire system. Your body pulls moisture from every available source, including your skin. The morning after drinking your pores look larger and your wrinkles are more prominent due to lack of moisture.

In addition to dehydration, drinking alcohol causes inflammation and a histamine reaction in the body. The most obvious sign of this reaction is feeling puffy the morning after drinking. A histamine reaction can also lead to an acne flareup, redness, or rash on various parts of the body depending on a persons sensitivity.

Drinking alcohol more than once or twice a week, doesn’t allow the body time to recover between assaults so the inflammation can lead to weakened skin structure and premature aging.

Can I have an alcoholic beverage and not affect my skin?

Think of alcoholic drinks in the same category as dessert; they are for indulging once in awhile, not on a daily basis.

When you decide to indulge, consider a low alcohol option and stay away from sugary mixers.

Drink an extra glass of water for each alcoholic drink. Not only will the extra water soften the blow to your system, alternating beverages slows your alcohol consumption when you are out with friends.

No matter how many alcoholic drinks you consume, do not skip your nighttime skincare routine! Do what you can to fake a full night of sleep the next day.

Pre-Holiday Skin Care

Summer is over and your natural glow is starting to fade, what’s the best way to prepare for the holidays?

First and foremost, it’s time to exfoliate. Chances are, you spent time outside and out of your normal environment in the past three months. Plus, (hopefully) you used more SPF!

Now is a great time to schedule a chemical peel or a Microdermabrasion Facial. Slough off the top layer of dead skin, clean out your pores, and start new for fall.

Take some time to revisit your home care routine, maybe add a brightening product to the mix. Botanical brightening products help bring back your natural glow without using of harsh bleaching ingredients.

Lastly, the temperature outside is cooling and days are getting shorter but daily physical SPF is still as important as ever.

How To Apply Physical SPF

There’s no question, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide the best protection for your skin and are healthiest for the environment.

Sunscreen products that contain these ingredients are usually labeled “mineral” or “physical”. Check the active ingredient list on the back of the label, it will contain zinc or titanium (or both).

Here are a few tips for applying physical SPF:

Apply physical SPF on clean skin or over a serum only. Layering too many products can feel uncomfortable. If you need extra moisture, consider an SPF with moisturizer.

Use a nickel sized dollop of SPF to cover your entire face. The length of the top portion of your pinky finger is about the correct amount.

Apply the product to your hands, rub them together to warm the product then spread it all over your face, neck and ears. Use outward feathering strokes to blend it in. Do not dab the product on the face like concealer then attempt to blend it in.

Wait 2-3 minutes after applying. Brush your teeth. Do your hair. Some physical SPF products appear a little white initially but then it disappears.

What Is The Skin Barrier?

And why is the skin barrier important?

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of our skin and has two main functions.

First, it keeps out harmful substances and second, it keeps in necessary elements like water and electrolytes. This layer of skin also produces antimicrobial proteins, lipids, and peptides to create an invisible protective shield.

The skin barrier is largely responsible for the general health of our skin. When the skin barrier is compromised, you may experience inflammation, redness, breakouts, rashes, dryness, tightness, and generally sensitive skin.

How do you fix a compromised skin barrier?

Look at the exfoliating products in your skin care routine. Any product that contains a physical scrub, a chemical exfoliant (retinol, glycolic, AHA, BHA, salicylic acid) or an enzyme exfoliant can compromise your skin barrier.

How often are you exfoliating? Over exfoliation is the number one cause of a compromised skin barrier

Is your cleanser a cream or a gel? Gel cleansers can be more drying, especially if they contain exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid or AHA’s. If your skin barrier is compromised, use a cream cleanser.

Are you nourishing your skin with antioxidants? Use a serum or cream with calming, nourishing ingredients twice a day to help your skin rebuild the lipid barrier.

A compromised skin barrier is often a temporary condition but you need to identify the cause and change your habits. The right skin care products and treatments will heal the skin barrier and eliminate sensitivity.

How to Care For Your Neck and Decolletage

The skin from your jawline to your collarbone is exposed to the elements for hours every day. Do you include it in your skin care routine?

What is the best way to care for this delicate area?

The skin on the neck and chest has fewer oil glands than the skin on the face which makes it more sensitive. When considering products for this area, focus on hydration and protection.

Cleanse the area with a nourishing cream cleanser. Follow with a hydrating cream with calming ingredients. Focus on anti-aging formulas with ingredients like peptides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.

Do a patch test before using products that contain retinol or glycolic acid on your neck. If your skin responds well, use them 1-2 times per week but follow with a hydrating cream.

Use a physical SPF every day regardless of exposure and time of year. I apply my SPF to my face, neck, and chest before getting dressed ensure maximum coverage.

Professional treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion are a great way to treat fine lines and pigmentation on the chest and neck. More intense treatments like Ultherapy are required to treat skin laxity in this area.

Are You Protecting Your Most Sensitive Skin?

Your most sensitive skin, the lips and eyes, are often missed during the sunscreen application process.

When using a physical sunscreen (like you know you should!) the product can feel heavy on delicate areas of the face. If you are still using a chemical sunscreen, it can sting when too close to the eye area.

Sunscreen products made specifically to protect and treat the eyes and lips are worth the extra effort.

Look for high percentages of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, it can be one active ingredient or a combination of the two. Physical sunscreen ingredients don’t have the “sunscreen” odor and won’t sting if you get them in your eyes on accident.

For lips I love Suntegrity Lip CPR when I want some color and Tizo lip balm for every day use.

Colorscience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy is a great eye product with physical SPF and a little color. Skinceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense is also good. Both are designed to treat the delicate skin around the eye while protecting it from the sun.

Products that contain SPF generally aren’t as moisturizing as those without. If you find the SPF eye cream isn’t giving you enough moisture, consider layering an eye serum underneath.

Take advantage of your evening routine as a time to get some extra moisture and use an eye cream without SPF.

Do I need a Tool for Washing my Face?

There are many tools on the market for face washing; brushes, cloths, even rubber devices that claim to be superior. Are any of these gadgets necessary to get clean skin?

The answer depends on your skin type and what you are trying to cleanse at the end of the day; makeup, excess oil, debris, layers of sunscreen.

If you have normal or combination skin and don’t wear a lot of makeup, your cleanser and your hands will get your skin clean on a daily basis. Add an enzyme mask once or twice a week for happy pores!

If you need an extra boost in your daily cleansing routine, consider your habits. Are you willing to keep a gadget charged (or replace the batteries on a regular basis)? Can you commit to changing brush heads when they wear out? All gadgets require maintenance to work properly so investigate before you invest!

The most basic way to get an extra hand cleansing your face is a simple washcloth. Have a few on hand so you can launder them regularly to keep bacteria from growing.

Be gentle when using any tool. Use soft brush heads and light pressure. Applying too much pressure can lead to broken capillaries and other long term damage.

Most importantly, wash your face twice a day!

The Seasons and Skin Hydration

Does your oily skin feel dry in winter? You are not alone. The seasons affect moisture levels in all skin types.

Seasonal changes are more noticeable in cold climates but warm, humid, climates also have fluctuations in moisture levels.

Trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) is the official name for loss of water through the skin to the surrounding atmosphere via the evaporation process. TEWL is a process which can take us by surprise, substantial dehydration sometimes occurs before a person realizes what is happening.

TEWL is affected by environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, the time of year and the moisture content of the skin. Your first line of defense is to stay properly hydrated internally.

Our skin is most dehydrated from December through March. Seasonal changes during April, May and June help the skin re-hydrate. The cycle of moisture loss begins again in July and continues until our skin is at its most dehydrated in December.

Knowing how the season will affect moisture levels in our skin allows us to plan our skin care accordingly. When the dry months begin, add a hydrating serum under your treatment cream at night.

How Often Should I Change My Skin Care Routine?

How often you swap out your skin care products depends on several factors, mainly the environment and your skin type.

If your city has four distinct seasons, you need two sets of products to get thru the year. A gel cleanser and light serum will control oil on warm and humid days but a cream cleanser and more moisture will be necessary during cold and windy months.

If you spend the majority of your time in a steady climate, you can have one routine for the entire year. So when should we try something new?

There is a common myth that skin gets used to a product and it stops working as well.

Your skin will not build up tolerance to a topical product. You shed the top layer of skin every 28-35 days, the product is interacting with “new” skin on a regular basis.

When we start using a new product, we see the most visible results in the first 30-90 days. Then the results plateau but the product is still doing its job. If you stopped using the product and your old skin conditions returned, you would realize how well it was working.

If you feel like your routine isn’t working as well as it used to or you are developing new skin issues, schedule a consult with a professional.

Most people need an entire range of new skincare products at least once per decade. Your routine from college isn’t going to serve you very well in your 30’s!

How to Fake a Full Night of Sleep

When you don’t get a full 8 hours your skin suffers. During a busy holiday season, lack of sleep will start to show in your skin.

1. Plan in advance. Look at your schedule for the week to see when you have the dreaded combination of late night + early morning commitments. Stay extra hydrated and cut back on salty food the day your sleep will be short. Also, consider skipping the alcohol at your evening event!

2. Wash your face when you get home, no matter how late. Traces of eye makeup will add to puffiness and irritation the following morning.

3. When you wake up, fill a large bowl with cold water, add some ice cubes and submerge your face for a few seconds. This jolt you into reality, get the blood flowing to your face and color in your cheeks.

4. Have 16oz of water before your first cup of coffee. It’s amazing how much better you feel when well hydrated!

5. Chill your jade roller in your bowl of ice water for a few minutes and give yourself a quick facial massage focusing on any puffy areas.

Skin Care Advice For My Younger Self

Looking back a few decades, what skin care advice would I give my 25-year old self?

If I could turn back time, I would:

  1. Be more diligent about sun protection. I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years and applied SPF daily but could have done more to protect my skin. I rarely wore hats or long sleeves when hiking outdoors and, looking back at old photos, my skin was consistently a few shades darker. I’ve reversed most of the visible damage but keep my fingers crossed when my dermatologist is checking my scalp every year!
  2. Start taking care of my neck and chest in my earlier. I recently saw a photo from my 33rd birthday, the skin on my jawline and neck was so taut! At the time I was focused on keeping my acne from flaring up, I didn’t consider much below my chin.
  3. Stop picking my acne. It’s simple. But so tempting. A pimple picked lasts twice as long as a pimple left alone. Not to mention the scars.

And now for the good news!

Here are a few things I’ve been consistent with and feel like it’s paid off:

  1. Start using eye cream at a young age. You don’t need to start as a teenager like I did but ingredients in eye cream do a lot more to prevent than correct. Start before you have visible damage and be diligent to get results.
  2. Commit to Retin A and Retinol…for life. To control my acne as a teenager, I used Retin A when it was new to the market. I suffered thru initial redness and flaking but it helped my acne and the residual marks. When I got into the skin care industry, I learned about the different types of Vitamin A derivatives both prescription and over the counter. This ingredient has proven over time to be the gold standard in both acne management and anti-aging.
  3. Crystal Micrdermabrasion treatments are key. I credit crystal micrdermabrasion with clearing up residual acne scars and getting my large pores under control. I got certified in the treatment in the late 90’s (when it was new to the United States) and had as many sessions as my skin could handle. All these years later, if you want resurfacing with no downtime, it’s still the best option.

How to Soothe End-Of-Summer-Skin

The end of summer is close, it’s been fun but your skin isn’t looking or feeling it’s best.

Even if you have oily skin, you’re probably dehydrated. Travel, alcohol, and warm weather all suck precious moisture from our skin.

This is the one time of year you don’t have to be acne prone to have clogged pores. All of the above plus extra sunscreen will make sure of that.

Now is a great time to have a deep cleansing and hydrating facial. Treatments like microdermabrasion and LED light therapy are perfect for End-Of-Summer-Skin. Hold off on deeper chemical peels and hydroquinone-based lightening products until after Labor Day.

If the heat has triggered your melasma, now is a great time to start using a hydroquinone-free lightening product. These products will start to gently even your skin tone without photo-sensitivity. Save the stronger products and treatments for the fall and winter months.

Your home care routine should include a gentle enzyme exfoliation 1-3 times a week (depending on your skin type) followed by a hydrating mask.

Antioxidant serum and physical sunscreen are important year round. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to swap these products for lighter versions during the warmer months.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

The Best Skin Care Routine for New Mothers

As a new mother, the best skin care routine can be the last thing on your mind. Feeding your baby and getting enough sleep take priority!

When life gets busy for any reason, products that do double (or triple) duty are key.

While breast feeding, continue to avoid all the topical ingredients you steered clear of during your pregnancy.

It is not uncommon for a new batch of hormonal acne to crop up after giving birth. Your skin may also be sensitive during this time so find gentle products that balance oil production.

During the first few weeks (or months), keep it simple. Cleanse your face twice a day, use an SPF moisturizer during the day and a simple moisturizer at night. Set a realistic goal for yourself and build up to your old routine when you have more time and energy.

I love vitamin therapy: fortifying cleanser for most skin types. It removes makeup (including eye makeup) and rinses clean. The cream formula is gentle yet it won’t clog pores.

Suntergrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen is my favorite all in one daytime moisturizer plus SPF. It has antioxidants and zinc oxide which help prevent pregnancy related melasma from getting worse. There is a tinted version if you like a little color.

After cleansing at night, I recommend a simple hydrating cream to calm the skin that won’t clog the pores. moisture therapy: calming repair cream is good for most skin types and can be layered with a serum if you have more time.

Once your baby is sleeping thru the night and you have more than 60 seconds for skin care, add a vitamin C serum and exfoliate 1-2 times a week with glycolic acid. These products with begin to diminish any lingering discoloration from melasma or acne and brighten the skin.

What is Melasma?

What is melasma? How is it different from hyper-pigmentation or freckles?

Melasma is a dark patch of skin, usually triggered by hormones and sun exposure. Hyper-pigmentation is a dark patch of skin, usually triggered by inflammation (such as acne) and sun exposure. Freckles are dark patches on the skin, often present since birth but they get darker with sun exposure.

The one common denominator? SUN EXPOSURE! Any unusual melanin activity is made worse by excessive, unprotected sun exposure.

The first step to treating discoloration and preventing new discoloration, no matter what the cause, is adequate sun protection.

The next step is to determine the root cause. Are you using hormonal birth control? Is the hyper-pigmentation showing up in areas where you previously has acne? This helps determine what treatment products are best for you.

Melasma triggered by pregnancy or birth control will usually begin to fade on its own 3-6 months after hormone levels have returned to normal.

Hyper-pigmentation from inflammation can take a few weeks to a few months to fade, depending on the melanin content of the skin.

A comprehensive routine of home care and professional treatments is the best way to treat both melasma and hyper-pigmentation.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

Do Skin Care Gadgets Work?

Skin care gadgets are popping up everywhere, but do they work?

Derma-rollers, skin tightening devices, and LED masks; you can purchase many devices to treat yourself in the comfort of your home but how do they compare to professional treatments?

Any device approved for sale to the public isn’t going to be as powerful as the professional version. Yes, even the ones sold on Amazon labeled “professional”. To obtain a professional machine, you must show the manufacturer your license and receive proper training.

Instructions on most home-use devices will tell you daily use is required to see results. This is important. Ask yourself “Will I devote 15 minutes every day to this machine?” before making the investment.

It’s better to spend your hard-earned money on a few professional treatments instead of a closet full of expensive gadgets you don’t use!

Home-use devices like facial cleansing brushes, skin tightening devices and LED masks can be beneficial if you use them properly (and daily!).

Avoid home-use microdermabrasion machines and microneedling. When you pierce the surface of the skin, there is a risk of scarring and infection. These are treatments best left to the professionals.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

The Top Five Anti-Aging Moisturizers

Anti-aging moisturizers are an important step in your skin care routine when you reach your late 20’s/early 30’s. They contain powerful ingredients that keep your skin youthful as well as reverse the signs of aging.

Use an anti-aging moisturizer at night, on clean skin, for best results.

Youth Complex $150

iS Clinical Youth Complex helps stimulate collagen and elastin production to promote a youthful appearance. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, it restores moisture and plumps skin, diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Mixed fruit acid extracts provide antioxidant protection as white willow bark calms and soothes the skin.

age therapy $90

Age Therapy Refining Complex is an effective anti-aging treatment moisturizer suitable for all skin types. The unique blend of active ingredients will visibly firm, smooth and re-energize the skin while protecting it against daily environmental assaults. With regular use, the skin will become firmer, more hydrated and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will be minimized.

Dermal Repair Cream $129

Skin Medica’s deeply penetrating cream with vitamins C and E, retinol, hyaluronic acid and omega-3 fatty acids. This moisturizing treatment is just the trick your dry skin-care regimen’s been lacking. Offering the same benefits as a handful of essentials yet delivering it in one, potent cream, it’s bound to become a key player in your day-to-day rotation.

Cereve PM $14

Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe PM Lotion effectively moisturizes and helps to restore the protective skin barrier of the face and neck. This lightweight, non-greasy lotion contains 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Fragrance free formula is suitable for sensitive skin.

Advanced Protection Cream $98

This ultra rich Organic Seaweed and botanical anti-aging moisturizer deeply hydrates and firms skin. DPHP, an amino acid compound visibly evens skin tone and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Luscious Grapeseed, Jojoba and Avocado oils minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a plump, renewed complexion.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!