Korean 7-Skin Method

A short while back I wrote a post about the 10-step Korean skincare routine. While this is the most mainstream routine in Korea, there is a trend that’s getting more and more hype, called the ‘7 Skin Method’. When I read about this, I was very intrigued, because this new skincare routine only involves 1 skincare product. I thought ‘how can a skincare routine only include 1 product?’ I would love for this to work because using only 1 product means it’s cheap!!!
So I decided to try this method out for myself to see if it can provide my skin what it needs with just 1 product, and if so, how does it compare to the regular 10-step skincare routine? 

What is the 7-skin method?

The 7-skin method is a way of increasing and maximizing hydration and plumpness by layering up to 7 thin layers of toner (or a watery essence) onto the skin. The idea behind this is that by layering your toner multiple times, your skin gets to absorb more of the hydrating ingredients, leaving you with that healthy, radiant, glowing skin. By using this method, your skin gets to soak up the toner in 7 small portions, instead of 1 large amount, drenching your skin with hydrating goodness.
Btw, this method is called the 7-skin, because in Korean the word for toner also means skin, so a 7-toner method.

How to do the 7-skin method?

So how exactly do you do a 7-skin method?

Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser as you normally would.
Step 2: Let your skin air dry and when it’s only slightly damp, apply the first layer of toner using a cotton pad or your hands. Pat the toner into your skin on your face and neck. Let it absorb.
Step 3: For layers 2-7 you don’t need a cotton pad, it would be too abrasive for your skin. Pour a dime-size amount (not more, you only need small amounts for this method) of toner into the palms of your hands and press the toner into the skin.  Wait for your skin to absorb the product and move on to the next layer.
Step 4: if you find that your skin is hydrated and moisturized enough after the 7th layer of toner, you can leave it at that. If you find that your skin can benefit from a light layer of moisturizer, you can also apply a thin layer of moisturizer after the 7-skin method.

You can start by only applying 3 layers of toner and see how your skin reacts to it. If your skin is agreeing with this method, you can work your way up to 7 layers (or more). I know that
applying toner 7 times can be quite time consuming, but you don’t need to do this method every day. Some do the 7-skin method once a week, some do it every other day. Personally I do the 7-skin method 2-3 a week, or whenever I have time on my hands, but trust me, the results are worth the time. Your skin will be so hydrated and will look so glowing after using this method! My mom even commented on how great my skin looked. She said I looked transparent XD. Also, if you’re scared you will run out of toner 7x faster, don’t worry, this method actually takes only 3-4x more toner than regular routines, because every application takes less product than it would if you’d only do 1 layer.

What products to use for the 7-skin method?

You can use any hydrating toner or lightweight essence that you like. Just make sure that it doesn’t contain any alcohol or fragrance that could irritate your skin. Also those toners that have cleansing properties, like a 2-in-1 toner-micellar water, are not appropriate to use in a 7-skin routine, because those can strip your skin of oil and be irritating when applied too many times. I personally used my favorite essence, the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist.

lw-blog-missha

Other suggestions according to your skin type:

-Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner (Deep rich) for normal to dry skin.
-Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner (Original) for normal to oily skin.
-Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin for acne prone skin.
-Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner for sensitive skin.
-Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner for all skin types.


Review & Comparison with Regular Routine

Now how does this routine compare to a regular 10-step skincare routine that I usually follow? It definitely takes more time, as mentioned earlier, but it really does make your skin more plump and glowing (or transparent to quote my mom). However, I don’t see myself doing this every day, I wouldn’t recommend others doing that either, because your skin needs more than only hydration. But it’s a very good spa-like treatment you can give yourself a couple times a week. I’m definitely going to keep doing this weekly because it really works and I love how my skin looks after!

Have you tried the 7-Skin method? What toner did you use and what did you think of the results?

This is an article published in the blog of the Korean brand Little Wonderland, https://www.littlewonderland.nl/en/

This article is reposted in my blog under permission from “Little Wonderland”. 

FRAGANCE IN COSMETICS

One of the most discussed subject in cosmetics, is undoubtedly “fragrance”. No other subject in cosmetics has been more discussed, argued about and researched.

In order to give you – my readers – some clarity on this subject, here’s my personal opinion.

In order to discuss this topic, it is important first to define, what fragrance exactly is. In cosmetics, fragrance is a substance, or a mixture of substances, meant to perfume the product OR to mask unpleasant odors from (active) ingredients.

So, this means a fragrance can be used for marketing purposes, but also to make a product acceptable for its consumers. Because, what you should know, is that many cosmetic ingredients do NOT have a nice smell. This goes for NATURAL es well as SYNTHETIC ingredients.

This also means that “NATURAL” as well as “CLASSIC” cosmetic brands, use fragrance in their products in order to make them pleasantly smelling to their public. 

Fragrance can also be used to “neutralize” odors. A product that “has no smell” could very well be fragranced !

Fragrance can be both natural (ex : essential oils) or synthetic, and can also be a mixture of both.

Now let’s come tot he crucial point : is fragrance BAD FOR SKIN ?

In my opinion (shared by many skincare experts, I’ll just cite Caroline Hirons), the answer is : NO, unless you have an ALLERGY to the product. 

I personally DO NOT believe that fragrances can lead to skindamage (like Beautypedia tells us) or are harmfull in any way. It is only bad for you if YOU are allergic to ONE (or more) fragrance ingredients.

The EU has made up a list of 26 fragrance ingredients, that are considered to be more “suspected” when it comes to the frequence of allergic reactions. Again, this means :  only for those who are allergic to the said substance. 

A few examples, like they are mentionned on the INCI (Ingredients) list :

  • Amyl cinnamal
  • Eugenol
  • Coumarin
  • Alpha isomethyl ionone
  • Hydroxycitronellol
  • Linalool
  • And more …..

The ONLY WAY to know what you are allergic to(be it a fragrance or some other type of ingredient), is to have it TESTED & CONFIRMED by a DERMATOLOGIST. Since we live in an era of “contains no parabens, synthetic fragrance and blabla blabla”, it has become very “fashionable” to have some self-invented allergies (or “highly sensitive” skin).

The funny thing is, that most of the “suspected” allergens are from NATURAL sources, being the essential oils. Meaning that natural-led products are more likely to give you allergies than the synthetic ones. Surprising, isn’t it?

CONCLUSION :

In my personal opinion, fragrance should not be a problem when used in acceptable dosage in skincare products.If you are, however, allergic to a certain fragrance ingredient (or group of ingredients), you will have this black on white from your doctor and you can read ingredient lists in order to select your cosmetic products.

Although a nice fragrance in a product has nothing to do with its purpose (namely : skin care), it can add an extra dimension to the product. What would a luxury cream be without a nice smell !!

Fragrance is absolutely not a necessity(unless the product would smell bad because of certain ingredients), and if you want to avoid, there are plenty of unfragranced products on the market.

Remember also that fragrance is not the only culprit when it comes to allergies and that cosmetics are often made of complex formulas in order to meet our skincare needs.

THE BOTTOM LINE : LET’S ENJOY OUR FRAGRANCED PRODUCTS  ! 

WHAT VITAMIN C CAN DO FOR YOUR SKIN

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”could be true for your skin too. Not that it means putting apple juice on your skin, but speaking in term of vitamins ; your skin needs them too.

After Retinol (Vitamin A), vitamin C is likely the most important vitaminwhen it comes to skincare. Recently, newer – more stable forms – of vitamin C have been found for use in cosmetics, which means that we nowadays have the possibility to supply a good portion of vitamin C to our skin topically.(Meaning by putting skin care on our faces).

Surely, your daily intake by mouth is very important too. It is, in fact, the basis for all. Did you know, that our organism needs vitamin C in order to produce COLLAGEN, our skin-buiding fibers, that decline over the years ? A good dosage of vitamin C could actually keep them fit & healthy! Fruit, vegetables, consumed either raw, lightly cooked (cooking “kills” part of the vitamin C), in a smoothie or simply, in a nice, fresh made soup, will keep your vitamin levels up.

On our skin, we could very well do with an extra supply, as our skin gets served LAST when it comes to nutrients absorbed through our digestive system.

Vitamin C can be applied as either a serum or a cream and I would advise you to look out for a serum, because the vitamin C will generally be MORE CONCENTRATED in a serum. Furthermore, it needs to be absorbed DEEP into your skin, and that is exactly what serums are meant to do.

You can use vitamin C either during the day, or at night. You can even MIX UP SEVERAL SERUMS TO GET ALL THE BENEFICIAL INGREDIENTS from several serums, in case you’re a real “beauty freak” like me.

Not only does vitamin C have COLLAGEN BUILDING properties, it will also help keeping SUN SPOTS & AGE SPOTS at bay (aren’t these two things the same ?). That’s why vitamin C is also considered to be a SKIN BRIGHTENER.

Good forms of vitamin C are :

Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Ascorbyl Glucoside

And Ascorbic Acid being the pure, unaltered vitamin C, that is, however, quite unstable in many cosmetic formulations, because it is very sensitive to air (oxygen) and light. That’s why it is sometimes presented as a powder, ready-to-mix with a liquid, before application on the skin (Clinique Fresh-Pressed).

My favorites of the moment :

  • Clinique Fresh-Pressed
  • Mad Hippie vitamin C serum
  • Nazan Tastan vitamin C serum
  • Helena Rubinstein Force C serum

So have your apple, but don’t forget your skin : it will thank your for it !

DO WE REALLY NEED TO STICK TO ONE BRAND FOR OUR SKINCARE ?

Or shouldn’t we ? That’s a question that always comes back again. You might be a Lauder devotee, or fully in love with Clarins. Both things, I could imagine, by the way… But is there a real need to stick to just one brand ?

The anwer is : NO , you don’t need to !Although many cosmetic brands offer a full spectrum of skincare products from which to choose, there is no rule that tells you you MUST, by all means, stick to just their products. It might, in fact be that your best skincare routine, can be found in three or even more brands.

As a professional blogger, I try a lot of products. I love a lot of different brands. I discover new, lovely and actually WORKING products almost every week. So it is very difficult to say that one brand “has it all”. I can actually use about up to six OR EVEN SEVEN products in one routine (when I’m really in the mood), all of them coming from a different brand.

For example, I love Clarins cleansers and toners. Just believe they do a great job in this area of skincare. But my Retinol serum will come from a brand like Indeed Labs or Nazan Tastan. For a repair serum, I ‘ll go to Estee Lauder for their famous Night Repair Skin Recovery Complex, or I ‘ll go for its (much less expensive) dupe from Missha, a Korean brand that happens to be equally great. And my favourite eye creams (when I use one) are from Chanel.

The choice of a day cream / night cream is very personal too. Are you looking for a high-end product or just for something nice and hydrating ? Every brand has its own specificities and therefore also its specialty products. The trick is to find the right ones for you. The ones that work best for YOUR SKIN.

As long as you do your routine right, meaning :

  • Mild cleanser (best non foaming) first
  • Acid toner, if you like
  • Moisturizing toner or essence is a MUST
  • Serum (spend some money here)
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturizer
  • SPF during day.

Your moisturizer can be skipped if your skin is oily during daytime. A cream with AHA’s or fruit acids is great overnight. So is a Retinol serum. Plenty of options here ….. Most important ; ENJOY !

ACNE

Acne is a skin disease. It’s not a “temporary skin condition”. Although many of us suffer from acne tos ome extent during puberty, in some cases, acne can occur at an adult age. Genetic predisposition plays an important role.

According tot he American dermatologist Nicolas Perricone, 7 stages of acne can be distinguished.

  • “Retention hyperkeratosis”. In a healthy skin, dead skin cells on the inside of our pores, are shed in a natural and continuous manner. In this first stage of acne, this no longer happens in a normal way. Dead skin cells and sebum (the natural grease our skin produces) cling together. As a result of this, pores get clogged and can eventually enlarge.
  • Bacteria start to grow inside the pore and its follicle (this is the hairshaft).Acne bacteria grow “anaerobically”, meaning they like places without oxygen.Skin condition deteriorates and the first lesions start to appear. Acne is a fact.
  • Comedones & blackheads start to appear.
  • Red, inflamed spots, the acne spreads.
  • Worsening of the condition: more spots, more redness.
  • Formation of cysts: this stage + 7 is called “acne conglobata” and is the worst case scenario. Large areas of heavily inflamed, large pimples.

In the first stages of acne (stage 1 to 4), good skincare can do a lot. It’s very important for young people to start taking care of their skin in an early stage. For stages 6 & 7, dermatologists’ treatments are a necessity.Treatment with antibiotics or Roaccutane/Accutane might be the only solution left.

Antibiotics kill the acne bacteria, but have the disandvantage of creating resistant strains. Roaccutane (Accutane in the US) is a very potent form of Vitamin A (iso-tretinoin) and clears up severe acne in a couple of months.

I personally suffered from acne from my 14th until my 23th. It was severe, and I tried everything I could to get rid of it. It took me years to go to a dermatologist. I wish I had done so before. Roaccutane was the ultimate solution for me. It helped, thank god it did. But it left my skin dry and parchy. Years of diligent skin care gave me back a “normal” skin. Nowadays, however,  I still suffer from acne scars and hyperpigmentation due to the many inflamations I had.

The worst thing you can do is “self-medicate”! Please don’t try to “dry out” your acne with desinfection alcohol, like I did.Don’t use soap or drying face washes either. It will only make matters worse, believe me.

What you can do, in order to improve your skin condition :

  • Use a mild, non-foaming cleanser twice a day. “Non-foaming” is important, because your sebeceous glands are already “overexcited”. Calm them down by using a very mild cleanser. Cleansing oil or milk is perfect. The body Shop makes a great cleansing oil with Chamomile and Clarins has a cleansing milk designed for oilier skin types. Cerave Cleansing Cream is rather a gel, so if you prefer a gel, this one will suit you. Clinique Facial Soap Extra Mild isn’t a soap, but a gelly milk and is great too.
  • If you use a toner (which I recommend), make it a hydrating one. Toners with glycerin, propanediol and hyaluronic acid are all very good. Not too much alcohol please ! Clarins, Exuviance, Lancôme and many Koreans (Leegeehaam, Klairs, Missha) are fab.
  • Use a AHA/BHA product. Fruit acids are GREAT for acne & oily skin. BHA’s can even penetrate inside your pores to help “clean them out”. Salicylic acid is great, glycolic, citric & lactic will be very helpful too. Use your product in the form of a gel, lotion or (very light) cream. Specialists in this section are brands like Paula’s Choice and Exuviance. Neostrata is available by dermatologists’ prescription (NL/BE).
  • Eventually use a product with Retinol (Vitamin A).Retinol is known to “improve” the pore lining, thus making your skin more healthy. It will also have a preventative effect on scarring and hyperpigmentation. Neostrata, Indeed Labs, Nazan Tastan and Mad Hippie all make excellent Retinol products.
  • Use a spot-on treatment on inflamed areas.On the pimples itself, that is. Do NOT use them all over your face !
  • Make-up is ok. Don’t let yourself be influenced by people saying it will “suffocate” your skin !Modern make-up does NOT do that. The only thing I would advice you is not to choose a stick or compact cream foundation as these are often based on heavier oils and waxes.

And don’t be as stupid as I was trying to “pop” spots. You can only do that when there is a BIG WHTE head on top of the pimple. And press gently, with CLEAN fingers. Don’t continue to press if it doesn’t “pop”. Just wait another day. (I know this isn’t easy, I’ve been there).

Last but not least : seek professional advise if your acne condition gets worse.

TONERS : THE TRUTH ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF TONING YOUR SKIN

There are few things I get more questions about than toners. People – that is : consumers as well as beauticians – ask me a lot about the usefulness of toners. Do we really need them ? Or can we just pas by them ?

What should toners do ? Well, actually, let’s start with WHAT TONERS ARE NOT :

  • They are NOT meant to remove last traces of make-up : if there are traces, you should either change your cleanser or the way you cleanse your skin. Read my blog posts about this, if you’re interrested. (Cleansing Part 1 & Cleansing Part 2).
  • They are NOT meant to “rebalance” skin’s pH value. Even if they might mildly correct pH values after cleansing, if you need to “rebalance”, it would mean you used a very agressive type of – soapy – cleanser. I assume you don’t …..
  • They are NOT means to “freshen” your skin: cold water out of your tap will do this. A lot cheaper too !
  • They do NOT close your pores; pores cannot be “opened” or “closed” like some window blinds…..

However, toners play an important role as YOUR FIRST STEP in your actual skin-caring routine, as you will not take them of your skin. A good toner, for that reason :

  • Supplies your skin with moisture.
  • Has skin soothing ingredients that help skin building up its acid mantle.
  • Could contain some bonus ACTIVE ingredients like vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals etc.

The first point being the most important one. Toners should be your FIRST STEP OF MOISTURE.Korean brands are strong at “layering” products and this is just what I mean. By using a good, hydrating toner, your skin will receive a first layer of moisture that will help other precious (moisturizing) ingredients penetrate your skin. A well hydrated skin looks younger and softer. Plus, good hydration can help your skin build up more (better) collagen and elastin, which will help REDUCE WRINKLES and preventing SKIN SAGGING.

So, who was talking about skipping a toner ?

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Remember, however, that not all toners are equal. I will be discussing a few nice ones in the coming months. Old-fashioned, alcohol-loaden toners are certainly “out”. Moisturizing, softening toners are actually “in”. This doens’t mean you need to spend a lot of money on a toner.It will mostly depend on your budget and personal preference. There are good toners to be found in all price categories.

 To be continued ……

VITAMINS FOR YOUR SKIN: PREVENT SKIN AGEING WITH ANTI-OXIDANTS

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the term “Anti-Oxidants” before.

It is in fact being used to indicate a group of subsbtances that are meant to protect our body – meaning OUR SKIN also – from harmfull,  external influences. You could say: defend it against all kinds of agressors. Think of pollution, smog cigarette(smoke), radiation from sun, but also from computer screens and mobile phones. In this context, the term “free radicals”is also being used. Free radical formation is the result of our body being agressed.

Anti-Oxidants are meant to defend our body (and skin) against free radicals. Like soldiers defending a fortress. (nice comparison, don’t you think so?).

In modern times, our body is continuously exposed to factors, it has to defend itself against. When we speak of “healthy nutrition”, we mean : keeping our body healthy, by eating the right food. Eating the right food means keeping your body strong, which leads to a better level of protection. You agree with me?

The word “Anti-Oxidants” should make you think of certain vitamins, like vitamin A, C, E and B3. Green Tea, Coffee, Chocolate and (red) Wine also have substances, that help protect our cells against the enemy.

When your body does not have a sufficient quantity of Anti-Oxidants, skin cell damage will inevitably occur. This goes for YOUR SKIN ALSO!

A well protected skin, however, stays YOUNGER FOR LONGER !

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The good news is, that your skin cells can absorb Anti-Oxidants, and therefore can be protected by cosmetic products too.Using a cream with vitamins or green tea extract does make sense!

The right dosage and proportion of the different substances is very important. Some vitamins need to be present in very small quantities and other can only function when combined. Vitamin E, for example, will support vitamin C. A good quality product will generally have one or more Anti-Oxidants. You can find products with vitamins or plant-based Anti-Oxidants in all price ranges.

In order, to help ypu picking your products, here’s a short list of ingredients to look out for. Their names on the Ingredients list will be like this:

  • Vitamin A; Retinol, Retinaldehyde, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin A Acetate, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate*
  • Vitamin C; Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
  • Vitamin E; Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Tocotrienol
  • Vitamin B3; Nicotamine, Niacinamide

Many plant-extracts contain Anti-Oxidants too. Many have vitamins in their natural form. Examples :

  • Green Tea: Camellia Chinensis
  • Coffee: Coffea Arabica
  • Black Tea (fermented): Kombuschka
  • Grapefruit: Citrus Grandis
  • Grape: Vitis Vinifera
  • Rosemary: Rosmarinus

These are just a few examples. The list is endless. Every year, some “new” plant extracts are introduced tot he cosmetics market.

*Hydroxypinolactone Retinoate is a rather new, promising form of Vitamin A. I will discuss it in my article “Retinol and Retinoids”.

ACNE & ADULT ACNE

According to Dr. Nicolas Perricone, dermatologist, there are 7 different stages of acne that can be distinguished. Stage one being the beginning, stage 7 being the worst state of acne.

  • Retention Hyperkeratosis. In a healthy skin, dead skin cells are shedded in a natural, ongoing manner. This also goes for the skin cells INSIDE the pores. In the case of retention hyperkeratosis, the dead skin cells inside the pores do not exfoliate in that natural manner and cling together with the sebum (natural skin oils). As a result of this, pores get clogged. The condition is triggered by several factors, one of them being genetics. In order to normalise this process, vitamin A derivatives like Tretinoin or Retinol can be applied to the skin. Retinol normalises the way skin cells behave inside our pores. Salicylic and glycolic acid can help prevent new pores from getting clogged, as these ingredients will further help exfoliation (elimination of dead skin cells).
  • Bacterial accumulation and multiplication inside the follicle. The acne bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, starts multiplying inside the clogged pores. Infection is around the corner. Antibiotics are used (as well orally as topically) by dermatologists, but there is a risk of developping resistant strains. Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne bacteria by releasing oxygen into the skin. This also means that free radicals are being formed, leading to possible cell damage and premature ageing. Benzoyl peroxide can also be very harsh to the skin and is not tolerated very well by sensitive skin types. Light Therapy with a wavelength of 410-420 Nanometer is very effective. Combined with the stage 1 treatments good results can be achieved.
  • Microcomedones/comedones formation. Meaning whiteheads and blackheads. Treatment should now be focused on anti-bacterial and light therapy.

4/5  Papule and pustule formation.Also called “stage 2 acne” by dermatologists. These are the well-known red, irritated and inflamed pustules that are so typical for people with acne. Treatment as in stage 3.

6/7 Nodules and cyst formation. This is a severe form of acne. Not every patient/acne sufferer gets to this stage. I did myself, unfortunately, mainly due to bad treatment in those days. Treatment now consists of Roaccutane (Isotretinoïn) orally. A course of about 3 to 4 months is generally effective at clearing the acne. Roaccutane has some serious side effects, like :

  • Bad vision at night
  • Hair loss (at high dosages)
  • Dryness of lips, nose, eyes
  • Increased triglyceride levels (this has to do with liver functions)
  • Severe birth defects in pregnant women

I personally did a course of 3 months of this medicine. It saved my skin and got me back on my feet after years of being depressed because of my severe acne. I only suffered dryness and had some increased triglycerides levels by the end of the course. This gets back to normal once you stop taking the medicine.I an soooo happy I did this !

What I also discovered during this stage, is how important GOOD, NON-AGRESSIVE skin care can be. It makes the whole difference, during and after the acne.

SKIN CARE REGIMEN FOR ACNE:

DAYCARE :

  • Start the day with a GENTLE, non-drying cleanser. Avoid foams if you can. A cream or milk will be just as affective, believe me ! Céravé Hydrating Cleanser, Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser, Klapp Bèta-Glucan Cleansing Milk, Clinique Take the Day Off are excellent.
  • Use a SPOT treatment ON your pimples. Try a solution with BHA/Salicylic acid. It will help reduce inflammation and “dry out” your spots (no, I know, you can’t litterally dry them out, but some of you NEED to hear it this way J)
  • Use an oil-controlling/mattifying product if you need to. A light moisturizer can be great too. Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like Centella, Green Tea and Chamomile. Silver is great too.
  • Use suscreen (oil free) SPF 30 at least or a make-up with SPF. Avoid stick/compact make-up, as these often have waxes which could clog your pores.

NIGHTCARE :

  • Doublecleanse (see my articles about cleansing). Your first cleans eremoves make up and SPF. The second one cleanses your skin.
  • Spot treatment
  • Use a Retinoid:vitamin A derivative like Retinol. Many brands have good retinols and they all have different percentages. If you want a stronger one choose Paula’s Choice or Neostrata. If you want to start milder look for Klapp Micro Retinol Soft Cream or Mad Hippie serum.
  • Moisturize:with a light moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid based product are great. A gel like l’Occitanes Aqua Réotier or Leegeehaam Serum is wonderfull at this stage.

SOME INGREDIENTS TO AVOID:

  • Mineral oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Isopropyl myristate & palmitate
  • Lanolin
  • Myristyl myristate
  • Propylene glycol (some persons, not all)
  • Sodiul lauryl & laureth sulphate.

Remeber that not everyone has the same reaction to cosmetic ingredients and some of the above mentionned will be perfectly ok for some.

Be consistent in what you do and seek for medical/dermatological advise if your acne doesn’t get better or gets worse.

WHAT ACTIVE INGREDIENTS DO WE REALLY WANT IN OUR SERUMS?

When we’re talking “serums”, we’re talking CONCENTRATES. When we’re saying concentrates, we’re going to spend some money. Because we expect THE BEST  from a serum. So if we’re going to spend some of our good money, WHAT INGREDIENTS should we actually watch out for ?

Here’s my personal list of FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS:

NUMBER ONE:will always be my number one, and it should be yours also. HYALURONIC ACID. Moist  elastin fibers – think FIRMNESS – need to function well. Hyaluronic acid (or “sodium hyaluronate”) will fix the moisture in your skin. There where it’s needed most.

NUMBER TWO:ANTI-OXIDANTSto protect our skin cells from environmental damage and help our skin do it’s (hard) job better. Think plant extracts like CAFFEIN or WHITE TEA ; many plant extracts will work as anti-oxidants. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is great also.

NUMBER THREE:RETINOL, the most active vitamin A for our skin. Proven to REDUCE WRINKLES  and hyperpigmentation (sun spots). Reduces acne, IMPROVES PORE SIZE. Does it all and that’s why we should all love this wonderful vitamin.

NUMBER FOUR:could easily be on place number three also ! Vitamin C BOOSTS COLLAGEN, improves SKIN BRIGHTNESSand evens out sun spots. Is a great anti-oxidant (cell protector) too ! Works well in combination with Retinol and vitamin E, which is another powerfull anti-oxidant.

NUMBER FIVE: STEMM CELLS EXTRACTS:nothing to do with human stem cells ! Just interrresting new active ingredients that are in fact “pluripotent plant extracts” that hold many secrets. Plant extracts like these have anti-oxidants, minerals and proteins that could all benefit our skin. The fact that they are harvested from young, undefined cells, makes them even more interresting !

NUMBER SIX: PEPTIDES.Although I have personally never been so enthusiast about peptides, they deserve a role in my list. Peptides are small proteins that can stimulate our skins’ collagen production. So do vitamin A and C, but peptides use another pathway. Many people swear by petides in their products, so I decided to mention them here too.

THE MOST IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER is, however, that you will need to pay a bit more for a GOOD serum. See it as an INVESTMENT in your skin. If you use a damn good serum, you can get away with a cheaper moisturizer. Keep in mind that some products, sold at exhorbitant prices are not necesarilly better than the ones in the “mid section”.You can find excellent products costing from 30 to 120 Euros. Above this, you’re paying for the marketing.

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FAVORITES AT THIS MOMENT :

  • Leegeehaam (yes, I know: it’s Korean, no idea how to pronouce this) Hyal B5 serum
  • iUnik Bèta-Glucan Power Moisture Serum
  • Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule
  • Estee Lauder Night Repair
  • Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum
  • Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum
  • Helena Rubinstein Force-C serum
  • Louis Widmer Pigmacare
  • Health Cosmeticals Repacell Serum
  • Clinical Care Surgery Restore 50+ (also from Health Cosmeticals)

SUN SPOTS & OTHER PIGMENT RELATED PROBLEMS

Sooner or later you’ll get them. Well, most of us will ….. SUN SPOTS, AGE SPOTS, call them whatever you like, they are almost a guarantee!

Genetic factors, hormonal changes (women), years of (unprotected/insufficiently protected) sun exposure. All these things, dear ladies & gentlemen, have to do with LIGHT; SUNLIGHTto be more precise, although you do not need to actually SEE the sun for the light to be there.

UV light is present all year round, in our climates from February until October.Afther this – at least in the Northern Hemisphere – the strength of the sun will become much less.

Many of us refer to “sun spots” when we are speaking about hyperpigmented areas/spots. They ALLWAYS have to do with (sun)light. Ever noticed one on your bum ? Well, if you’re a naturist, I’ll take that back J

Ok, enough of that now, you all get what I’m saying here. Now the question is, once sun spots have become A FACT, what can we do about them ?

In an interresting interview I had with Dr. Françoise Guiot, dermatologist (Dutch version also), she explained a lot about the treatment of sun spots. Here are both her and my recommendations when it comes to treating them.

INITIALLY, decide whether you want to try yourself first and then go to see a dermatologist in case you’re not successfull, or go and see the dermatologist right away. Some products/treatments that you could try yourself are :

  • Vitamin C serums,like Helena Rubinstein Force C serum , Vichy Vitamin C serum, Flavo-C serum, Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C has the ability to “lighten” hyperpigmented spots, so you might be successfull trying this.
  • Products based on the ingredient “Hexylresorcinol”like Louis Widmer Pigmacare or Eucerin.
  • Use fruit Acids (AHA’s) to exfoliate (peel) your skin effectively.You can use Lotion P50 by Biologique Recherche (as a toner) or try an AHA cream like Klapp ASA Care Cream and Vyon AHA Cream. By peeling off the superficial layers, the overpigmented areas will slough off in a more rapid manner.
  • If you want it a little stronger, get a prescription for a Hydroquinone cream,like Louis Widmer Pigmanorm. This one is easy to get in Belgium and Luxembourg, but harder to find in the Netherlands. Highly effective, but with some side effects, so bes ure to read the instructions well before you use !

In case you want to consult your dermatologist, he/she will often treat you with laser/IPL or chemical peels to get rid of the pigment problems right away. You might need several treatments and HOME CARE is VERY IMPORTANT, meaning the use of a preventive serum (like the ones mentionned above) and diligent use of a sun block !

I always lean towards using a serum when it comes to sun spots, because the active ingredients in a serum will mostly tend to be more concentrated than in a cream. (Except for AHA’s ; I prefer them as a toner or a cream).

Hyperpigmented spots always tend to COME BACK and this is why home care is so important. SPF will prevent further damage, but some active ingredients will make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a bright, even complexion.