MM's Must Haves: Skincare Basics

Skincare Secrets Slider

For readers that don't know me - you probably wonder why you would take my skincare advice? I can humbly admit I have good skin. An expert aesthetician gave me an A+ on my routine and skin condition and I definitely get a "whaaaat?!?!?!" when I tell people my age. It may come from good genes, education (was in the beauty industry for a chunk of my professional career), and starting early. Whatever the cause, I've learned a thing or 10 about taking care of my skin and have become an expert on what works and what doesn't, at least for my skin.

First... let's talk cleansing. Everyone knows that I am an advocate of the Clarisonic. Full disclosure, I did work for the company for a bit,  but I wasn't brain washed. The thing actually does what it says - cleans your skin better than anything else. Why? Sonic technology - the same tech that the Sonicare toothbrush developed to clean your teeth - so you can lie to the dentist and tell them you floss everyday. Yes, it is worth the $200 but if you want to save a little money, get the Mia for $125. It works the same, is smaller, and easier for travel.

Medik8 pore cleanser

A few Tips:

1. Use your Clarisonic daily (at night before bed wash off to wash the makeup and grime) and just hand wash in the AM. Even if you experience breakout at first, continue use. It's literally working at all of that crap that you haven't been able to get off your face in 20 years.

2. If you have sensitive skin make sure you are using the sensitive brush.

3. If you are acne prone use a foaming salicylic acid cleanser to prevent the breakout. The acid breaks down the oil, dirt, and germs that cause acne. If you aren't acne prone, a nice cream cleanser is a great way to start the cleansing process as it moisturizes as it cleanses and is gentle on the skin.

To Tone or Not to Tone - that tis the question ? 

In one word. Yes. Don't even consider it an option. Do it to balance the skin after the cleansing process, add moisture back, and do a triple check on the cleansing. I personally don't feel right putting moisturizer on without it. Toners, however, are very personal to skin type. A few I love: Dr Grandel Soft Tonic $35 / Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Toner $63 / Georgia Louise Rose Water $70

Potent Vitamin C Treatment

Treat (not the candy kind)

Assuming you've gotten this far and are still listening, you probably want to know - what are the magic formulas to get rid of my fine lines and wrinkles, acne, scarring, age spots, dark circles, etc, etc etc. Let's get down to business.  A few treatment ingredients that will solve all of your first world problems:

1. Retinols AKA Vitamin A: Simply put - after your 20's you lose all of that stuff called collagen and elastin that keeps your skin acne free, your cheeks high and mighty, and your mouth from not looking like you have perma-bitch face. And if you don't want to do the bo-bo (botox for those who aren't into slang) you should start using a retinol. There is a lot of debate on retinoids since they can be irritating, but if you use the right product and % - they are miracle workers. The debate from professionals here if you aren't so sure. I just recently started using a new to market product - Algenist Retinol Lifting and Firming Serum. AND I love it. AND it works. I suggested it to a friend and she said that she noticed a difference in her skin in just 3 days after using it.

2. Vitamin C AKA The One Two Punch:  As my husband said "You look a good way....". This is exactly what Vitamin C does for your skin, immediately - a youthful glow on the spot. Over time, Vitamin C has been suggested to not only help sun damaged skin, but also to deter against free radicals AKA skin cancer. Read up on that here. My current Vitamin C of choice is a little pricey, but worth it. Some more fascinating info on Vitamin C for beauty junkies!

Notes of caution! *Because Retinol's and C's are highly active ingredients - both stimulating cell growth and collagen, some say NOT to mix them together, although my aesthetician said it was ok, you have to make sure you don't have a reaction. I use a very pure vitamin c with the above retinal, have the most sensitive skin and no reactions.

**One thing you can do is wear the C during the day (since it gives the immediate glow) and retinol at night when you sleep if scared to mix.

Last but not least - Moisturize

Because you are already four products deep - I like to finish my skincare regime with a moisture/spf combo. The ULTIMATE, PERFECT product that moisturizes, anti-ages, and contains SPF here. My friend suggested it to me years ago, but I was suffering from skin allergies and anything upset my dermis. Years after going gluten-free and eliminating harsh chemicals from my skincare ingredients, I proudly can say I wear this everyday.