Category Archives: Skin Care & Treating Acne

Silicones: Do They Clog Your Pores?

siliconesSilicones.  They’re either loved or hated. They’ve been demonized and they’ve been praised. Most notably, they’ve been accused of being comedogenic; meaning that they will clog your pores leading to acne breakouts. But is this true?  Today we will separate fact from fiction and learn the truth about silicones and their role in the beauty and skin care industry.

Fact Versus Fiction:

Silicones are class of chemicals known as ‘polymers’. Two basic elements make up silicones: silicon and oxygen, chemically written as SiO.  Silicon is 14th on the periodic table and is the 2nd most abundant element on earth.

Silicones DO NOT clog pores or enter the bloodstream via cosmetics, nor do they bioaccumulate in humans and animals.  The molecule is too large to enter the pore just as in the case of petroleum jelly and is too large to pass through the cell membrane (necessary for bioaccumulation to occur).  However, silicones can INCREASE the penetration of other ingredients in a formula and if these other ingredients are pore cloggers and irritants, then those are the culprits for breakouts, NOT the silicone(s).  On the flip side, if a formula contains non-comedogenic ingredients that are extremely beneficial to the skin, silicones will help to penetrate them and this is excellent news. Time and time again, silicones in studies have been shown to actually INCREASE the healing of acne lesions and DECREASE the occurence of acne scarring.  Silicones also lessen the time it takes for wounds to heal.

Silicones are non-irritating, non-sensitizing and they are extremely resistant to oxidation (they won’t go rancid). They are hostile towards microbial and bacterial growth which makes them an excellent wound-healing agent. Silicones are non-allergenic as well-they do not react with the body’s immune system. They are now being used as a replacement for latex (a very allergenic substance) in a wide variety of applications and are also used in treating Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema.

Another rumour circulating via internet pseudo science is that silicones ‘act as a plastic wrap’ and do not allow the skin to breathe. Absolutely false.  Silicones do NOT suffocate the skin trapping bacteria and sweat, as most people have been led to believe via internet scare-mongering and fear tactics. Silicones actually allow for oxygen, nitrogen and water vapors to pass freely, also known as a ‘vapor permeable’ barrier.  What silicones DO do is to prevent TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss): a leading cause of dry and dehydrated skin.  The skin barrier is protected when silicones are applied topically.  Protecting the stratum corneum is critical to skin health.

Silicones do NOT trap sebum (facial oil).  They actually help to absorb excess oil and produce a mattifying effect to the skin.  Silicones can blur the look of fine lines and enlarged pores. This is highly desirable amongst cosmetics users who have oily skin, large pores and are frustrated by oily breakthrough and their makeup not lasting throughout the day.

Silicones ARE biodegradable.  They are not clogging up our environment, such as in the case of plastics.  Silicones will break down into water, silicic acid and carbon dioxide.  Low molecular weight silicones such as Cyclopentasiloxane will break down faster than higher weight silicones such as Dimethicone.  Nonetheless, ALL silicones biodegrade and studies have proven that no adverse effects were discovered to soil micororganisims or plant life that was treated with soil containing high levels of silicones.

As you can clearly see, silicones in the use of cosmetics have gotten a bad rap, and for no good reason and without a shred of scientific proof. Those individuals demonizing silicones are simply uninformed and they continue to perpetuate false rumours which only confuses consumers.

The bottom line is this:

  • Silicones are non-comedogenic & non-acnegenic.  They DO NOT clog pores  OR cause acne breakouts.
  • Silicones are non-irritating & non-sensitizing.
  • Silicones are non-allergenic. They DO NOT cause allergic reactions.
  • Silicones ARE breathable.
  • Silicones are biodegradable.

References:
1. http://www.educatedtherapists.com/dimethicone-in-skin-care-separating-fact-from-fiction/ 

2. http://www.skininc.com/skinscience/ingredients/12-Silicone-Myths-Exploded-269445911.html 

 

Oily Skin Part II: What Can You Do About It?

oily skinIn last week’s article, you learned what facial oil is and I discussed what the causes of oily skin are.  Today we’ll find out if there’s anything we can do about oily skin and what are the best ways to manage it.

First and foremost, you can’t stop your skin from producing oil. Short of taking a prescription drug like Accutane, you can’t just shut off your sebaceous glands.  However, you can get your oil production under control.  Here’s a few simple tips:

  1. Get hydrated!  Yes, drinking water is important to overall health but it’s not enough to keep your skin hydrated. You MUST use a hydrating product that’s going to draw moisture to the skin. Look for ones that contain Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid).  This ingredient is like a tall glass of water for your skin.  My favorite is HydraBalance by Face Reality Acne Clinic. Just like the name says, it HYDRATES and it BALANCES.  I just LOVE this stuff!
  2. Start using the correct products for your skin type.  Steer clear of products that are too harsh and that can strip away the lipid barrier of the epidermis (top layer of skin).  Likewise, don’t OVERUSE your skin care products.  Washing your face twenty times per day isn’t going to get rid of the oil; it just compounds the problem.  Oh and when you do wash your face, use TEPID water only.  Water that’s too hot will leach moisture right out of your skin!
  3. If it all possible, get a home humidifier installed to run during the cold months of the year. Dry indoor heating is horrible!  It dehydrates the skin.  If a home humidifier is too expensive, consider getting a small unit that you can run at night while you’re sleeping.  A good brand is Honeywell.  Just be sure to change the filter often enough to prevent mold & bacteria growth!
  4. Don’t even think about using oil as a moisturizer.  I hate to break this to you but oils DO NOT moisturize the skin.  They only create a barrier that helps to prevent TEWL (transepidermal water loss).  Hydrate your skin first with a water-based moisturizer and then you can use an emollient-type of product on top to seal in that moisture.  My favorite is Clearderma by Face Reality Acne Clinic.  I put their HydraBalance on first and then I put on a light layer of Clearderma. Voila!  Instantly plumped and hydrated skin. Me likey.
  5. I can’t believe I even have to say this but…STOP TANNING!  It’s bad for you and your skin. Enough said.
  6. Lastly, consider using an acne-safe oil-control product such as PRIIA’s HydraPrime oil-control powder BEFORE and AFTER foundation application.  It’s specially formulated to absorb excess facial without over-drying the skin and it’s translucent so it won’t interfere with other makeup colors.  Customers have reported that it helps keep the shine away for 6, 7 and even 8+ hours.  *Before applying any makeup products, make sure you’ve let your moisturizer/SPF absorb into the skin.  This means you’ll need to wait about 10-15 minutes.  I’m sure you can think of something to do such as brushing your teeth, putting on your undies or checking your FaceBook and Instagram feeds…

Hey Kelley, what about those oil-blotting papers?  Should I be using these?oily skin blotting papers

Oh I have a love/hate relationship with oil-blotting papers. Why?  Because they’re expensive!  Plus, I’ve seen a few that contain ingredients (besides just paper) that can be a problem for acne-prone skin.  Not to mention I’ve seen gals literally pressing these things into their faces.  You don’t want to do this!  Why? Because your face collects dust, debris and environmental pollution throughout the day.  Pressing a piece of paper into your skin may collect some oil but at the same time you’re forcing all of that gunk into your pores and asking for an acne breakout. Ick.  Instead do this:

  • Save yourself some $$$ and grab a few toilet protector sheets the next time you visit the ladies room.  Don’t be embarrassed!  They’re there for you to use.  There are no rules as to how you use them, right? Cut them up into small squares and carry them in your purse.  Voila!  Oil absorbing sheets for free!
  • When you want to absorb some excess shine, GENTLY lay one of the sheets onto your oily spots and let the paper do the job of absorbing the oil.  DO NOT PRESS it into your skin. When done, throw it out.
  • Lastly, mist a few pumps of PRIIA’s Hydrating Spritz on our Deluxe Powder Buffer Brush and lightly sweep across your face to refresh your makeup and give some extra hydration to your skin.  *Optionally, you can dust on a little extra HydraPrime to help absorb oil throughout the rest of the day.

I hope you enjoyed these tips!  Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know who’s dealing with oily skin! 

Oily Skin: What Are The Causes?

oily skin confusedOily skin.  It’s a love/hate relationship.  For those of us who have oily skin, we love it because we show less aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Yay!  But we hate it for the inevitable shine breakthrough, enlarged pores and more often than not, acne breakouts. Boo.

What is facial oil?

The technical term is: sebum.  Sebum is a material comprised of fatty materials secreted by the skindiagramsebaceous glands.  Sebum’s function is to protect the outermost layer of skin known as the epidermis against dehydration and bacterial invasion.

What actually causes oily skin?

  1. It’s a genetic thing.  If oily skin runs in the family, you’re more likely to also have it.  Thanks Mom and Dad.
  2. As the seasons change, so does our skin.  In the heat and humidity, oily skin can go into overdrive.  Likewise, in the cold months oily skin can become dehydrated from indoor heating which also ramps up oil production.
  3. Using products that are too harsh for your skin (i.e. alcohol-based toners).  If you strip away your skin’s natural lipid barrier, guess what?  It’s going to work overtime (by producing more oil) to replenish itself.
  4. Just like using incorrect products, over using the correct products is just as bad.  No matter how much you try to wash, rub and scrub the oil away, it will come back and sometimes with a vengeance.  Put away those wash cloths, facial scrubbers and any other “power tools” you’re using to banish the oil.  As with anything in life, the key is finding balance.
  5. Medications can cause havoc for those with oily skin; especially hormonal medications such as birth control and hormone replacement therapy drugs.  Basically ANY medication can cause dehydration in the skin which will cause oil glands to kick into gear.
  6. Ultraviolet exposure (a.k.a. sun tanning, tanning beds).  Tsk Tsk.  Please tell me you’re not doing this!  Besides the obvious increased risk of developing skin cancer, sun exposure through sun burns and tanning (natural or artificial) sends a signal to the body that there’s a need for damage control.  Can you guess what happens next?  Yep.  Oil glands to the rescue!
  7. Too hot!  As in you’re showering, bathing and washing your skin with water that’s too hot.  Hot water literally strips away moisture from the skin causing TEWL (transepidermal water loss) which leads to dehydration.  Dehydration = oil glands working some serious overtime to compensate for the water loss, even though water and ‘oil’ are two different things.
  8. Hormones & Stress.  Ugh.  When hormones fluctuate and stress is high, oily skin can go nuts.  Literally.  A rise in androgen hormone levels (i.e. puberty, pregnancy, peri/pre menopause, as well diet) will cause oil glands to secrete an over-abundance of sebum.

In my next article I’ll discuss how you can bring balance to oily skin in just a few easy steps.  Stay tuned!

The Top 10 Things You Can Do Today To Help Your Acne

shutterstock_girl-with-acne2More than 60 million Americans suffer from some form of acne breakouts.  Acne affects more than 80% of all teenagers at some point in their lives, and clogged pores comprise more than 25% of all visits to the dermatologist.  Acne has now hit epidemic proportions in adults, especially women.  What used to be just a teenage problem is now a real challenge in people’s lives.

Common Acne Myths

→It is not due to dirty skin.
→It is not due to eating chocolate.
→It is not due to sexual frustrations.
→It is not just a teenage problem.

What Is Acne?

Acne is an inflammatory disease of the pores.  It can be caused by certain drugs, lifestyle, diet, medications or exposure to certain chemicals, but most acne is an inherited tendency.  Dead skin cells are shedding much too quickly in the acne-prone pore and an excess of sebum (facial oil) is being created due to hormonal responses.  It forms a ‘plug’ along with sebum and hair and this is where the problem begins.  If the body doesn’t see the ‘plug’ as an ‘invader’, then it remains as a non-inflamed lesion; a.k.a. ‘blackhead’.  If it does, then the formation of pimples, pustules and cysts begin to happen.

Curing Acne

First and foremost- acne CANNOT be cured; only controlled.  Don’t be fooled by all of the hype and empty promises you see about a skin care product or pill being able to “cure” acne- they can’t.  Your best course of action is to stop wasting your time, money and sanity on bogus products and get yourself to a QUALIFIED skin care professional.  As a certified acne specialist myself, I HIGHLY recommend seeking help from acne clinics such as Face Reality in California.  They specialize in the successful treatment of acne- it’s all they do.  You can even check with them to see if there’s a Face Reality Certified Professional in your area.  Many of our PRIIA™ retailers are also trained acne specialists.

The Top 10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help With Your Acne

1. Grab some ice! When you discover a pimple forming, instead of picking at it, grab an ice cube and rub it gently over the spot for about a minute.  Don’t leave it one spot otherwise you may burn your skin- keep it moving.  An even better solution is to use a SoothieQ®! Icing brings down the inflammation and in some cases, the pimple goes away.  Picking only leads to the possible rupture of the follicle. This sends an inflammatory response signal to your immune system.  More redness ensues and you most likely will be left with a scar because healthy tissue has been damaged.

2. Watch your salt intake.  Iodized table salt and foods high in iodides cause irritation in the follicule walls in acne-prone individuals.  Cutting down on salt is good idea for overall health but if you just can’t be without it, opt for the un-iodized variety.  Foods that high in iodides (actually higher than table salt) are kelp and all seaweed based products (algae, carrageenan) and also plankton.  Many vitamin supplements contain kelp.  Many cosmetic brands are now including algae and plankton extracts.

3. Back off from dairy; especially cheese.  There are many different schools of thought when it comes to the acne-dairy connection.  Cows lick salt that has been iodized. Carrageenan is a common additive found in dairy products.  Many different chemicals are used in processing milk, not to mention hormones fed to cows. Organic milk isn’t any better either- cows still lick salt AND their milk still contains hormones (just not added hormones). Consider switching to almond milk instead (unless of course you are allergic to tree nuts).

4. Change out your pillowcase every night.  If you’re not using a fresh pillowcase every night- start doing so.  There is evidence to suggest that sleeping on a fresh, clean pillowcase every night cuts down on the occurrences of blemishes.

5. Say NO to fabric softener and dryer sheets.  These products leave a waxy residue on fabric to cut down on static cling.  This residue is highly comedogenic and gets transferred onto your skin.  Opt for dryer balls instead.  They’re reusable and they help with static cling.  Switch your laundry detergents to the fragrance-free variety.

6. Put away the peanut butter and other “high androgen” foods.  These include: Peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, corn oil, wheat germ, shellfish and organ meats (liver, sweetbreads, heart).  They contain a substance that mimics androgen hormones.  Foods high in androgens are inflammatory, cause more facial oil and exacerbate acne.

7. Get more R&R.  Rest and relaxation is important in helping with your acne.  Not enough sleep and high stress levels stimulate the adrenal glands.  This promotes more sebum production which leads to more breakouts.  The stress doesn’t have to be ‘bad’ stress either.  It can be joyful stress such as getting married or landing that new job you’ve been after for a while.  Stress is stress- your body doesn’t know the difference.

8. Avoid low-estrogen birth control methods.  They cause hormonal changes which leads to breakouts in the acne-prone individual.

9. Limit your sun exposure.  At first, it may seem like your acne is drying up and going away from being in the sun.  Don’t be fooled. Sun exposure without proper protection damages the follicles, exacerbates hyperpigmentation and increases your risk for skin cancer as well as for getting ‘Solar Acne’ and ‘Acne Majorca’.  Be sure to use a non-comedogenic sunscreen every day.  Heat and humidity also make acne worse.

10. Double-check your skin care and makeup products!  Cosmetics are notorious for causing breakouts in the acne-prone individual. Many are filled with comedogenic oils, waxes, dyes and synthetic ingredients that aggravate acne.  Even natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil are big no-no for acne.  Some prescription skin care products such as Retin A (cream form) contain a potent pore clogger- isopropyl myristate. Check your products with our PORE CLOGGERS list.  If you find these ingredients in your cosmetics, consider an alternative.  Our PRIIA™ Minerale-Derm products are 100% acne safe.  They are truly non-comedogenic AND non-acnegenic.  Give them a try today!

Antibiotics for Treating Acne: A Closer Look

More than 60 million Americans suffer from some form of acne breakouts.  Acne affects more than 80% of all teenagers at some point in their lives, and clogged pores comprise more than 25% of all visits to the dermatologist.  Acne has now hit epidemic proportions in adults, especially women.  What used to be just a “teenage problem” is now a real challenge in people’s lives.

BacteriaWomen in their 30’s, 40’s and beyond are now not only dealing with aging skin but acne breakouts as well.  Confused, they are running to the dermatologist faster than ever for a prescription of either topical or oral antibiotics to kill the acne-causing bacteria known as p.acnes (Propionibacterium acnes).

Is this a wise decision?  As a licensed esthetician, acne specialist AND former acne-sufferer, I think NOT.  Let me explain…

Antibiotics, when taken for acne, only address ONE part of the problem.  They are meant to kill bacteria.  They do not tackle the issue of excessive shedding of the skin cells.  Normal pores shed up to one layer of dead skin cells per day, whereas the acne-prone pore will shed up to FIVE layers per day.  To add insult to injury, the skin cells of an acne-prone pore are “stickier” than those of a normal pore.  The “stickiness” causes the skin cells to clump together.  To make matters even worse, an acne-prone individual produces more facial oil (sebum) which also tends to be thicker.  The thicker sebum combines with the mass of dead skin cells and a plug begins to form in the pore causing blackheads and whiteheads.  Bacteria love an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment and they begin to feed on the plug in the pore which causes inflammation.  Antibiotics will do NOTHING to stop the excess shedding of skin cells.

Oral antibiotics have also been known to cause disturbances in the body’s normal pH levels.  Good bacteria are also killed off which throws normal flora completely out-of-whack.  It’s no wonder that a lot of times, doctors prescribe an anti-fungal medication right along with an antibiotic prescription.  Yeast infection anyone???  There are also harmful side-effects to consider when using antibiotics, not to mention that the overuse of them has led to resistant strains of bacteria, including p.acnes and MRSA.

All in all, taking antibiotics for the treatment of acne just isn’t a good option.  At best, they are temporary solution.  They DO NOT address the root of the problem whatsoever.

 

Beauty True or False: Oily Skin Needs LESS Moisture Than Dry Skin Part 2

In my last post, I asked, “Do oily skin types need LESS moisture than dry skin types?”

The answer to this question is NO.  I can also say the answer is FALSE if I were making the statement that oily skin needs less moisture than dry skin.

Oil and water levels within the skin are 2 very different things.  Did you know that over 78% of individuals with oily skin types are actually DEHYDRATED.  This creates a vicious cycle: the skin is oily yet dehydrated (lacking sufficient moisture) and then begins to produce more oil because of the imbalance.  This process will continue to repeat itself over and over until the problem is addressed and corrected.

The plain and simple truth is that ALL skin types need the proper amount of hydration to look their best and stay balanced.  Oily skin types should look for a water-based moisturizer, whereas dry skin types should look for a emollient-based moisturizer.

If you have oily skin, your best bet would be to use a water-based hydrator first and then apply an acne-safe moisturizer. You can also apply a few drops of high linoleic safflower or sunflower oil over top in order to “seal” that moisturizer within the skin’s surface.

 

Probiotics: A Possible Cure for Acne?

Probiotics are microbes which are "good" bacteria that help to balance the body and can be found in foods such as yogurt and milk.  Probiotics are also available in supplement form such as Acidophillus tablets. 

Bacteria Typically, probiotics are used to treat wide variety of digestive and gastrointestinal issues, however, lately they are being looked at as a possible topical treatment for acne skin conditions.  The theory being presented is that probiotics will clear up acne by reducing the amount of bacteria on the skin's surface.  Also, probiotics can help reduce the amount of inflammation within the skin which is also a contributing factor to those who suffer from acne.

Here's my opinion on the subject as a licensed skin care professional specializing in the treatment of acneic skin conditions…

First, anything claiming to be a "cure" for acne should immediately send up red flags.  Why?  Because there is NO CURE for acne.  It can be managed but not cured.

Secondly, although the theory of probiotics reducing the amount of bacteria on the skin's surface sounds promising, it doesn't attack the SOURCE.  The bacteria that causes acne is the p.acnes bacteria and lives deep within the sebaceous (oil) glands.  When the follicle gets 'plugged' and no oxygen can get to it, the p.acnes bacteria multiply rapidly because they are anaerobic (live without oxygen).  Once this happens, the infection takes hold and a pimple begins to form.  Probiotics can't get to the source; they only work on the outter most layer of the skin.

Overall, I feel probiotics aren't a bad idea when it comes to another means to treating acne.  They do offerPoppingZit surface bacteria reduction to a point and they have anti-aging and skin-tone-improving abilities.  However, in my opinion, they need to be used IN CONJUCTION with other proven acne-fighters. 

Question: Have you ever tried probiotics as a means to treating breakouts such as making a homemade yogurt facial masque?  Let me know-I'd like to hear your thoughts.  Thanks!

Related Posts:
Can Vitamin C Prevent Acne?
Understanding Your Acne

Get the most up-to-date skin care information delivered right to your inbox!  Subscribe to The Mineral Makeup Coach Blog today.

If you enjoy reading The Mineral Makeup Coach Blog, please feel free to share the home page with your friends using this link: http://tinyurl.com/5eqd9q.

Tweet with me on Twitter!
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Find me on Facebook

Cheers!

-The Mineral Makeup Coach

The Top 5 Reasons Why YOU Should Visit A Skin Care Professional

Everyday your skin is bombarded with dirt, debris, stress, bacteria, UV rays and environmental pollution which cause pre-mature aging, inflammation and overall poor skin health and appearance.

Healthy, unbroken skin is the first defense against disease.  Professional care for the face- one of the areas most exposed to the environment- is a critical step to good health.  Professional treatments of this area by a licensed esthetician provides a barrier to illness, a purposeful immunity, and a radiant, glowing YOU.

Facialmassage Need more reasons WHY you should consider receiving professional skin care treatments?  Here are the TOP 5

 

1. Skin is analyzed by a trained and licensed professional.  Studies show that 60% of people define their skin type and home care products incorrectly.  A licensed esthetician is trained in skin analysis to provide accurate information, create an appropriate treatment plan and make proper home care product recommendations to enable you to meet your skin care goals.

2. Deep cleansing of the skin by a professional rids the skin of dirt, debris and environmental pollutants in order to allow your skin to maintain a healthy balance and enhance its ability to fight off disease and aging.  It also enables the skin to better utilize the products applied for nourishment, exfoliation and protection.

3. Deeper exfoliation and penetration of products with professional equipment, techniques and products work to allow beneficial ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin for faster and greater results.

4. Professional facial massage dilates the vascular system, encouraging it to bring vital nutrients and moisture to the deeper layers of the skin and to remove waste and toxins produced during normal cell metabolism.  This stimulation also brings a “healthy glow” to the skin that only a professional facial massage can produce.

And lastly…

5. Professional extractions are performed when needed.  Acne and breakouts can be spread, and scarring caused, by picking.  An esthetician is trained to perform extractions when needed and in the least invasive and most safe and effective manner.  The skin is properly prepped and extractions are done with optimal results and minimal discomfort.

Professional facial treatments can be relaxing and rejuvenating, a much needed prescription for our hectic daily and stress-filled lives, especially since stress plays a major role in many skin care and other physical disorders.

Worried you can’t afford having professional skin care treatments?  Don’t be.  Most professional skin carePumpkinfacial treatments start in the range of $55 to $75 for a basic facial and are recommended every 6 to 8 weeks.  For about a $1 to $2 per day, a professional skin care treatment is easily within your grasp.  If you go out to eat more than once per week, cut back to one night per week.  Opt for the small latte at the coffee shop instead of the large.  Basically, where there’s a will…there’s a way.  Do this for yourself- your mind, body AND your skin will thank you.

 

The Truth About Layering Sun Protection Products

Recently I was asked if layering products that contained different levels of SPF would protect the skin better from sun damage.

SunBlockFace My answer was “No”.

A lot of people tend to think that if they put on a product, such as a moisturizer, that contains an SPF15 and then they apply another product, such as makeup foundation, that contains SPF10, that their skin is being protected now with a total of SPF25.  This is not true.  You’re skin is only protected up to the extent of the highest rating of one product.  In this case, it would be an SPF15.  Believing a misconception like this not only gives you a false sense of security, but it opens the door for a lot of sun damage to occur and increases your risk of skin cancer.

Your best bet: wear a daily broad spectrum SPF30 that also contains antioxidants which help to protect the skin from free radical damage.

Enjoy your summer safely!

I