Once boots and sweaters have been relegated to the back of your closet, it’s officially time to start updating your skin care routine for summer. Any time there is an extreme shift in temperature and climate, it’s going to affect the way your skin behaves so it’s always important to listen to your skin and make modifications based on seasonal needs. Due to the higher summer temps and increased sun exposure, this can bring on a whole host of issues, including free radical damage, brown spots, redness, and breakouts.
Here are eight tips for switching up your skin care routine that will help you avoid these summer skin woes like a pro.
1. Switch to a lighter moisturizer
When the air is really dry in the winter, your skin has a hard time hanging on to moisture. However, the higher humidity levels that accompany warm, summer weather allow your skin to retain more of its natural oils. This means you don’t need to be adding as much oil through your skin care routine in the summer, otherwise, you run the risk of your moisturizer sitting on top of the skin instead of being absorbed, which may lead to breakouts. That being said, your skin cells always need water regardless of your skin type, and summertime is no exception. In fact, water can evaporate with heat, leaving you dehydrated. A light, oil-free moisturizer like Skin Recovery Lotion is a great moisturizer for summer, especially if you have oily skin. (Looking at you, skin types 3 and 4!) This will give your skin an infusion of water and keep it looking plump. Using a lighter moisturizer in the morning will also help foundation makeup and sunscreen to stay put longer throughout the day. Some of the oils in heavier moisturizers can actually start to dissolve these products.
With that in mind, remember that it’s always important to listen to your skin. Spending a day in the sun can cause moisture evaporation and leave skin feeling parched, in which case you can play it by ear and use something a little heavier to replenish the oils that were depleted by sun exposure.
2. Properly cleanse at night to remove sunscreen, sweat and oil
Sunscreen (especially water-resistant sunscreen) can be the trickiest part of a summer skin care routine, especially if you’re prone to clogged pores. Add in the excess sweat and oil production that are unavoidable during summer months, and it may seem like breakouts are inevitable. (Ugh!) Including a proper cleanse as part of your nightly skin care routine is by far the best defense against summer breakouts.
Here’s how to wash off sunscreen so it doesn’t clog pores:
Use a cleansing lotion that contains lightweight emollients (oils). This type of cleanser does a better job of removing sunscreen and makeup than a water-based cleanser. I like Vitamin-Infused Cleansing Emulsion.
Massage the cleansing lotion onto dry skin for 60 seconds. This will break down sunscreen, makeup and oil better than on wet skin.
Wet your fingertips and thoroughly massage the skin one more time, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies.
To remove your cleanser, wet a baby washcloth and gently wipe it across your face. This will pick up any last traces of sunscreen and dirt so you can feel confident it’s not hanging back to settle in your pores.
Optional: use a deep-cleansing mask like Rapid Response Detox Masque for your pores. This is especially helpful if you’ve been wearing water-resistant sunscreen and spending a lot of time outdoors that day.
3. Switch to a low-foaming cleanser in the morning if you have oily skin
If you’re wondering how to take care of oily skin in the summer, this tip is for you. While some traditional foaming cleansers are a no-go because many can strip the skin, using a gentle, low-foaming cleanser instead of a lotion or balm cleanser in the morning can help you get a somewhat deeper clean and cut through sweat and oil. A low-foaming cleanser like Purifying Face Wash is an especially good option after a workout or any activity that causes you to sweat a lot. When choosing a foaming cleanser, make sure it’s ‘sulfate-free.’ I still recommend a lotion-based cleanser in the evening to do the heavy-lifting when it comes to removing makeup and sunscreen from the day.
4. Use an anti-bacterial body wash to prevent body acne
When you’re updating your summer skin care routine, don’t forget about the skin on your body. During the summer, breakouts on the back and chest can become more frequent. This is because spending time in the sun can actually lead to an increase in dead skin cell buildup. This causes dirt, oil, and bacteria to get trapped under the skin, which in turn can cause blemishes. One way to stay ahead of this is to use an anti-bacterial cleanser containing ingredients like salicylic acid on your body twice a week (try AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser). Apply it to a loofah or baby washcloth and massage it over the back or body. This will encourage the removal of dead skin cells so that your pores are less likely to get clogged in the first place. Regular exfoliation will also keep your skin looking smooth and glowy, which is great in the summer when you’re showing more skin.
5. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day
It’s no secret that summer equals sun, and this means it’s more important than ever that your skin care routine includes diligent sunscreen application. Excess sun exposure can lead to DNA damage, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin later on. It can also trigger melanin cells and cause them to become overactive, which is what leads to brown spots, hyperpigmentation, freckles and, in some cases, melasma. While a good application of a lotion sunscreen in the morning should always be the cornerstone of your skin care routine in the summer, you need to be re-applying sunscreen throughout the day as well to stay protected from strong UV rays.
Here’s how to re-apply sunscreen over makeup.
For your regular day-to-day, using a mineral powder to top off your sun protection should suffice. Look for the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and dust on a layer of powder every 1.5 to 2 hours. I like an SPF-rated powder like Colorescience or Supergoop, but if you’re using makeup that contains titanium dioxide, know that you’re getting protection from UV rays even if the product does not have an SPF rating. If you’re spending the day doing outdoor activities (like hiking or going to the lake or beach), it’s important that you continue to layer on actual sunscreen lotion every 1.5 to 2 hours. (Learn my trick for applying water-resistant sunscreen so that it doesn’t clog your pores.)
6. Go easy on retinol and chemical exfoliants before prolonged sun exposure
Generally speaking, you don’t need to stop using retinol or chemical exfoliants in your skin care routine during the summer. I use them year round, faithfully. You can continue to use them regularly as long as you are diligent about daily sunscreen application. Remember, these ingredients can sensitize your skin a bit and could make it more vulnerable when out in the sun, so using them in the summer without sun protection is a big no-no. That being said, if you know you have a trip or event coming up that will result in a lot of sun exposure (like a trip to the beach or a day spent outside at the pool), it’s best to go easy. Discontinue use of any retinol or chemical exfoliation products four days prior, and pick them back up again two days after you’ve been in the sun. Advanced Resurfacing Serum is an excellent retinol formula for sensitive skin. I love it.
7. Load up on antioxidants
When you’re spending more time outdoors, you’re exposed to more free radical activity from both the sun and pollution (especially if you live in a city). The best way to combat this is to load up on antioxidants—both internally and topically. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best way to load up on antioxidants internally. Foods like tomatoes, spinach, watermelon, oranges and blueberries are packed with immune-boosting antioxidants. Topically, you should be using a stable Vitamin C serum like Vitamin C&E Treatment every morning. Not only do the powerful antioxidants in this serum protect against free radical activity, but they can help suppress excess melanin activity. During the warm summer months, UV light can trigger unwanted pigmentation, but did you know that heat can have the same effect even without UV light? Using an antioxidant serum will help keep unwanted pigmentation under control.
I also recommend adding in an antioxidant replenisher as part of your nighttime skin care routine in the summer. Think of your antioxidant supply like a tank of gas. Even if you apply an antioxidant serum in the morning, your tank is empty by the end of the day, especially if you’ve been spending time outdoors. Using a product like Firm + Repair Overnight Serum at night is a great way to restore your supply or “refuel” while you sleep. While Firm + Repair Overnight Serum is a real powerhouse when it comes to antioxidants, many of our products have antioxidants, including Sheer Moisture Lotion and Skin Correcting Serum.
8. Use soothing products to manage heat-induced redness in sensitive skin
Summer can be tough if you have sensitive skin and are prone to redness. When temperatures are high, your capillaries can dilate, which means more blood coming to the surface of the skin causing it to look pink or red. In some cases, it may also feel warm to the touch. When capillaries are constantly dilating and restricting from heat, they become stressed and can turn into “broken” capillaries with age. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to avoid this:
Put your products in the fridge to help cool down the surface temperature of the skin. If you experience redness, one of the main goals is to keep the skin cool, and products with a gel consistency lend themselves especially well to this! Avoid hot water as well to prevent capillaries from expanding further.
Avoid ingredients that are too harsh or irritating. Common culprits include fragrance, essential oils and sulfates (found in traditional foaming cleansers). In the summer, you may also want to look out for Avobenzone. This is a common ingredient used in chemical sunscreens that may cause skin sensitivity and inflammation. When in doubt, patch test first!
Go easy on chemical exfoliation. As I mentioned above, it’s good to cut back on exfoliation before prolonged sun exposure, as this can make the skin more photosensitive. The same is true for those prone to redness, irritation and sensitivity. Over-exfoliating can lead to a damaged moisture barrier and end up causing more harm than good. (Read how to fix a damaged moisture barrier.)
So there you have it, eight easy tweaks that will give you the perfect summer skin care routine. Bring on the barbecues and pool days—with loads of sunscreen!
When you’re prone to clogged pores and acne, trying out new foundations can be a stressful experience. After all, foundations are notorious for causing closed comedones, which are clogged pores that can turn into acne when they become infected.
Finding the right foundation can be just as complicated as choosing the right skincare products. I can’t tell you how often I get the question, “Renée, what’s the best foundation for my oily, acne-prone skin?” I’ve taken it upon myself to do some research in order to bring you, my loyal readers, the answer to this question. The goal of my research was to find the best liquid foundations that are least likely to clog your pores and will provide long-lasting coverage. If you have oily skin, you know this can be a challenge! In this post, I’ll share with you our followers’ top foundation recommendations, including my top three picks (and how I came to this conclusion).
The Top 10 Foundations For Acne-Prone Skin, According to Our Followers
To begin the process of researching foundations, we reached out to our skincare community on Instagram. We asked our followers to tell us which liquid foundation was most compatible with their oily, acne-prone skin. Here are the top ten recommendations, in order:
How I Analyzed Foundations To Come Up With My Top 3
The Oil-Migration Test
The first thing I did to narrow down the pool of foundations was to perform the oil-migration test. While I realize it’s not completely scientific, the purpose of this test was to get a sense of how much oil or emollients (slipping agents) were in each formula. I tested all 18 foundations listed above by getting samples and putting a drop of each onto a sheet of white paper. After 24 hours, I flipped the paper over to check for oil rings. The idea is that the extent of migration (aka the size of the ring) can correspond to the percentage of oil in a cosmetic. My intention was to find the foundations that contained fewer emollients, as these would generally be better suited for oily skin. For those who produce oil, you know all too well that when your skin’s natural oils mix with the oil and emollients in a foundation, your makeup can vanish fairly quickly, especially in the t-zone. This means foundations with smaller rings would also stay put longer on oily skin. While the oil-migration test was a useful tool, keep in mind that I didn’t make all of my decisions based solely on this.
Looking at the Ingredient List
Once I had narrowed the foundations down to a smaller group based on the oil-migration test, I proceeded to look at each of their ingredient lists to see if there were any red flags. As I’ve mentioned, though, this can be tricky because you can’t always judge a product by its ingredient label. Some of these foundations use terms like “oil-free,” “non-acnegenic,” “non-comedogenic” and “dermatologist tested.” While these are all great in theory, it’s important to take these labels with a grain of salt. Because these terms aren’t very regulated and don’t have any official industry guidelines, there’s always a chance they can be used for marketing purposes without actually living up to the implications. Everyone’s skin is unique (I believe there are nine types of skin), and no product is guaranteed to be successful for everyone.
Patch Testing the Foundations on my Skin
As my third and final step, I tested the remaining contenders on my own skin. While I don’t get as many clogged pores since I transitioned from skin type 2 to a skin type 6, I’m all too familiar with how I think a foundation should wear on the skin from my earlier, oily-skinned days. I judged the foundations based on how long they stayed on my skin without slipping, and I looked for ones that dried down well without leaving that dewy, slick feel.
My Top 3 Foundation Picks for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
After analyzing all 18 foundations, I was able to narrow it down to three that I felt were best-suited for oily, acne-prone skin. Not only are they less likely to cause clogged pores, but they should stay in place all day on oily skin to ensure you stay covered. Here are my top three foundation picks, in no particular order:
You’ll notice that, based on the oil-migration test, Estée Lauder Double Wear should have been on the top three list instead of Fenty Beauty. But I decided to go with Fenty Beauty despite the fact that it had a larger ring. This was based on the ingredients and how I felt it wore on the skin. I liked that both the Estée Lauder and Fenty Beauty foundations were silicone-based (silicones get a bad rap, but read why I don’t think you need to avoid silicones). In the end, though, I liked that Fenty included talc and Nylon-12 in its formulation. Talc helps create a nice, matte feel on the skin, while Nylon-12 is a good oil-absorbing ingredient.
As to what I wear? I currently wear Laura Mercier Lumière Radiance-Perfecting Foundation as it works really nicely for my skin. But during the summer months, I’ll use Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I consider makeup an extension of skincare. In fact, I believe everyone should wear some sort of makeup daily to offer additional protection from the sun and other environmental aggressors. As is the case with skin care, choosing the right makeup for your skin is a very personal process, and there is never any guarantee that a product will work for you just because it works for someone else. Everyone’s skin reacts differently, so take your time and be sure to patch test first! Choosing a new foundation can be challenging, but hopefully, this post gives you a good place to start and takes some of the guesswork out for you!
After 30 years of working hands-on with clients as an esthetician, I’ve had thousands of conversations about skin and let me say, I’ve heard a lot—and it hasn’t all been good. For the most part, people generally practice good skin care habits and use their common sense, but once in a while, I’ll be taken aback. Here are some of the worst skin care sins I think I’ve ever heard.
The 9 Worst Skin Sins I’ve Ever Heard
1. Nail-filing the face
Many years ago, I had a client who would take a nail file to her face to “file down” problem areas in hopes of lessening acne scars. She said that it helped smooth out the skin’s texture. The crazy thing is that the grit from a nail file, when sanded over the face, IS considered a form of smoothing physical exfoliation (similar to professional microdermabrasion), but clearly, this is not something I recommend or would consider safe! I’m all for physical exfoliators like a facial scrub even though they have lessened in popularity. Learn about the benefits of a facial scrub.
2. Smoking—and around estheticians!
We all know that smoking is not beneficial for the skin. But two experiences in particular stand out for me:
A client asked me after giving her facial where she can buy some cigarettes. I love the term “know your audience.” LOL
On one of my visits to France, I walked into a facial salon only to find the receptionist puffing away on a cigarette right at the front desk. Smoking right in a facial salon of all places? Wow.
Like smoking, drinking alcohol can undo the healthy benefits of a facial because it’s very dehydrating to the skin. So imagine my surprise when I gave a celebrity a facial in her hotel room, and she did a shot of whiskey when I finished. After a facial, you want the skin to take in all of the wonderful nourishing benefits, so not exposing it to instant dehydration is wise. Here’s how alcohol is affecting your skin.
4. Extreme picking (but sometimes, a person just can’t control it)
As a former picker myself, I know from personal experience that picking at your skin and blemishes can be very damaging. Sometimes, people can take it to the extreme and their picking can result in severe scabs all over their face. I have seen this on more than one occasion. When picking is done to this extent and a person cannot have any self-control, it can be considered an obsessive-compulsive disorder and professional help should be sought in order to prevent long-term skin damage. Picking at the skin causes serious damage and this picture of my client proves it.
5. Post-peel sun exposure
After a facial, and especially after getting a chemical peel, dead skin cells are removed, allowing fresh, new “young” cells to surface. Caring for these new cells requires wearing daily sun protection and definitely avoiding sun exposure between the hours of 10am and 2pm when the sun is at its strongest. (Did you know? Exfoliated skin can be 45% more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn.) I’ve had clients through the years that have ignored my warnings and suggestions concerning post-facial exposure and have gone into the sun or tanning bed and fried their newly revealed skin.
6. Layering exfoliating products
There’s no doubt that using exfoliants on a regular basis will improve many texture issues with the skin, but some people take it to the extreme. During a recent skin consultation, I had a client who looked like she had a sunburn. Her skin was reddened and I could even see a line of red demarcation all along the perimeter of the face. When I asked about her skin redness and if she had been in the sun, she said no. In fact, she hadn’t even noticed her skin was red at all. She was just so used to it looking this way. Come to find out, she was layering acid products by using both an acid toner followed by an acid serum every single night which was resulting in an ongoing acidic burn. Her efforts of trying to do good for her skin were completely backfiring and putting her skin in a major state of inflammation without her even realizing it.
The underlying cause of expedited skin aging is from inflammation, and while a lot of this comes from environmental exposure (UV rays), having the skin in an ongoing state of trauma from overusing exfoliants is not healthy for the skin at all. As evident from a red ring mark all around the face! If her skin could talk, it would say “Ouch!! Leave me alone!” (Learn how to use acids, enzymes, and scrubs safely.)
7. Using rubbing alcohol as a toner
Toners that contained alcohol were certainly popular all through the 70s, 80s and some of the 90s, but some people kicked it up a notch by just using pure rubbing alcohol on the face. This was mainly used by those who had blemishes and while it would dry up individual blemishes, it would completely strip moisture from any and all healthy cells causing extreme dehydration. Thankfully I haven’t heard this one in a long time as I think there is a lot of awareness about how harsh alcohol-based toners are for the skin. Skin cells are like fish and need water to live, and since the skin is constantly trying to repair itself and maintain a moist environment this creates major chaos. I’m not really a fan of liquid acid toners but I do believe in the importance of using regular, hydrating toners after cleansing. Here are five reasons why.
8. An esthetician “faking” that post-facial glow
This one is more like an ethical sin that I have personally experienced, and I have heard about it from other people and it did not sit right with me at all. If you have ever had a facial before, an esthetician might pull out a mirror at the end of the treatment to show you how great your skin looks. One time after a facial this happened to me and my skin looked incredible. My skin was so smooth and even-toned and my pores looked almost invisible. I was absolutely shocked that the facial could transform my skin in this way. Fast forward to that night when I went to go wash my face. Imagine my surprise when I noticed skin-colored makeup coming off on my white baby washcloth. The esthetician had put on some sort of tinted moisturizer or makeup on my skin which was why my skin looked flawless.
A client of mine also shared a similar story with me. She was invited for a free facial, and when they held up a mirror for her at the end she couldn’t believe how good her skin looked. They had set up a ring light and encouraged her to take a selfie to post on social media. Since she was so impressed with the results, my client obliged. Later that evening when she was washing her face, she, too, saw makeup coming off. Needless to say she felt like they had pulled one over on her and wasn’t very happy about it.
A while back, I had a client who was dealing with acid-like burns on her face. After doing some investigating, I learned that she was using a cut lemon and baking soda on her face every morning and night as her only skin care steps. Lemon juice is extremely acidic with a pH of around 2. This not only caused severe damage to this client’s moisture barrier, but was actually giving her burns. Yikes! While lemons are high in Vitamin C, the skin doesn’t work the same way the digestive system does; therefore, it isn’t really possible to put food on the face and expect the nutrients to easily get into the skin. There’s a reason skincare products are carefully formulated in a lab! (Do DIY treatments ever work? Read my thoughts).
So there you have it, a few things I’ve heard along the way in my career. Read about my personal skincare philosophy (including the skincare trend that scares me the most).
Updated 5/19/19. As a skin care expert and esthetician for 30 years, I’ve been asked every skincare question imaginable, but the one I hear most often is, “My teenage years are long gone. Why do I still get blemishes and acne cysts as an adult?” Due to hormonal fluctuations carried over from your teenage years, it’s not uncommon to get breakouts well into your 20s, 30s and even beyond. In fact, adult acne is on the rise.
Adult breakouts tend to be more infrequent than teenage breakouts. Thus, it’s normal to question why you have perfectly clear skin for weeks, then one day a blemish appears out of nowhere. Is it from stress? Is it from not washing your face? Is it diet related? Is it from your dirty cell phone? PMS? The answer isn’t always easy to find. However, if you still get occasional blemishes, ask yourself these 11 questions and you just might find the solution—once and for all.
11 Reasons You Might be Breaking Out
#1 Do you touch your face often?
This may come as a surprise, but subconsciously touching your face all day makes it quickly become the dirtiest part of your body. While it’s important to wash your skin every night, it’s much more effective to not touch your face unnecessarily in the first place. This adds bacteria to the skin which causes breakouts.
Pro Tip: Keep your hands occupied. Get a toy or gadget that you can play with when you’re most likely to touch your skin. This will help tremendously. Check out this No Picking! Twisty Toy. It’s something simple, yet fun to fidget with to keep your hands busy.
#2 Have you been eating more dairy than usual?
When you develop cystic breakouts (those hard, painful, underground bumps that linger for weeks) on the chin, jawline and neck area, it might be a sign that you’re consuming more dairy than your body can tolerate. Your skin acts as an excretory system to get rid of things with which your body doesn’t agree. When you get too much dairy, it is by nature going to be harder to digest. This can cause cystic blemishes to appear on the lower area of the face. Read more about why eating dairy can cause cystic acne.
Pro Tip: The best way to determine if your acne cysts are directly related to your intake of dairy is to completely cut dairy out of your diet for at least three weeks. Keep a food diary and log every single thing you eat. This will hold you accountable. If you don’t develop any new cysts, then this might solve your problem. It doesn’t mean that you cannot eat any dairy at all. Slowly introduce dairy back into your diet. The point at which you start breaking out again shows your body’s tolerance level. Finally, my Anti Bump Solution works amazingly well as a spot treatment, if and when cysts do appear. You can also use it to prevent future cysts.
#3 Have you been under tremendous stress?
I’ve certainly had personal experiences that have confirmed this is true. In addition, though, the Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study about this in 2002 involving students suffering from acne. Their college professors conclusively proved that exam stress worsened the students’ acne. According to researchers, their findings indicated that “subjects who had the greatest increases in stress during examination periods also had the greatest exacerbation of acne severity.”
Stress doesn’t just affect acne flare-ups. In general, it worsens the overall skin condition. It induces the adrenal glands into overproduction of cortisol. This is a steroid that makes sebaceous glands produce more oil, making skin extra oily. Thus, in stressful periods, people experiencing an increase in acne get more inflamed, pus-filled papules than simple whiteheads or blackheads.
Pro Tip: The easiest solution for reducing stress is to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. The research supporting this is crystal clear. Sleep (or lack thereof) affects every aspect of your health, well-being, physiology and both physical and mental performance. It’s essential, not just for tissue repair and regeneration, but also to maintain a strong immune function (this is needed to fight off acne). When our bodies are under tremendous stress and fatigue, sleep can make a huge difference. And of course, using Rapid Response Detox Masque at night as a post-cleansing mask will put the fire out fast.
#4 Do you NOT wash your skin each and every night?
You probably know that sleeping with your makeup on is bad. But also think about the oil, dirt, and debris that builds on the skin during the day. The combination of these can absolutely trigger new blemishes. This is one habit that you must practice faithfully if you want a clear and healthy-looking complexion.
Pro Tip: The #1 reason people don’t wash their face at night is exhaustion. If this describes you, try performing your nighttime skin routine earlier in the evening when you’re less tired. In fact, your skin actually benefits greatly from doing this. Did you know that your skin starts to repair itself once the day turns from light to dark? Removing makeup gives your skin a clean palette for applying your night time performance products. I talk more about this in this video.
#5 Have you started using new skin care products?
When you introduce new products into your routine, you might experience some initial blemish purging. This is especially true if the products are exfoliating your skin more than it’s used to. (This is actually a good thing; exfoliants restructure the skin’s natural cell turnover process) However, if the purging continues for more than 4-6 weeks, this means the products may not be a good fit for your skin.
Pro Tip: When introducing any new product to your skin, I always recommend using one new one for 3-4 days before adding a second new product. If your skin reacts negatively, it’ll be easier to determine which product is causing it. However, some breakouts can start weeks before they actually appear, so this isn’t always a completely sufficient test. For any allergic or rash reaction, though, it’s at least a good place to start. Read how to avoid a negative reaction to new skincare products.
#6 Are you about to start your menstrual cycle?
Many women experience a surge of blemishes at the start of their monthly cycle. This process is completely normal and common, but can still be very frustrating. Just before the start of a woman’s cycle, there is more progesterone in the skin. This causes water retention, resulting in a puffier appearance. (If you find yourself bloated and your pants get a little tight, then this surely will sound familiar.)
When this occurs, it puts pressure on the pores and creates a narrower pore lining. Additionally, oil can get thicker during this time because of an imbalance of hormones and an increase of testosterone during the pre-period hormonal shift. When thicker oil tries to get through a narrower opening, this creates an ideal environment within the skin for breakouts.
Pro Tip: Taking Vitamin B-6 every day for one week prior to your cycle may help regulate hormonal imbalances. Calcium-magnesium supplements may also help when taken during this time. I also advice switching up your skincare routine slightly to minimize bacteria. An effective and super easy way to do this is with the Skin Reset Kit. You can sub this kit into your routine to preemptively stave off breakouts, or when you notice your skin starting to act up. When used together, these four anti-microbial products are powerhouses at clearing and resetting your skin without causing irritation. Once the kit has worked its magic and your skin is back to normal, you can go back to your regular routine!
#7 Do you suspect your hormones might be off?
Hormones are chemical messengers, created by our bodies to regulate everything from metabolism to cell growth to reproductive cycles and mood. When they fluctuate, they can trigger weight gain, depression, sleeplessness, and fatigue in addition to adult acne and breakouts. A common sign of hormonal imbalances is an inconsistent, sporadic, or even nonexistent monthly cycle.
Pro Tip: I would advise you to check with your physician or gynecologist to see if they can run tests to check your hormone levels. From there, they may have recommendations to treat the imbalance internally. Read how birth control pills may affect your skin.
#8 Have you flown on a plane in the last few days or week?
I can attest to this one. Flying on an airplane absolutely throws my oil-producing skin out of whack. This usually leads to post-flight breakouts. The cabin of an airplane has extremely low humidity, which causes the skin to get extremely dehydrated (it lacks water). When an oily-prone skin type gets dehydrated, the skin tries to repair itself by producing even more oil. Since oil breeds bacteria and bacteria leads to breakouts, flying on a plane can definitely cause problems.
Pro Tip: Whenever you travel by plane, you should have two main objectives to re-set your skin once you have arrived at your destination. The first is to exfoliate surface dry cells, and the second is to hydrate the newly exposed cells and reduce oil and bacteria from within the pores. Doing so can really help minimize breakout activity. Post-flight, I always exfoliate with Triple Berry Smoothing Peel first then hydrate and reduce oil and bacteria with Rapid Response Detox Masque.
#9 Have the weather temperatures been fluctuating from day to day?
When the season is changing and the weather is warm one day and cold the next, it can really leave your skin confused. You guessed it–unbalanced skin can lead to blemishes.
Pro Tip: If this happens, you should adjust your skin care routine ever-so-slightly. You don’t want to go for a major overhaul and switch your entire routine to acne-focused products. Over-compensating like that could leave your skin dry and irritated. A great way to address the sudden breakouts is to temporarily switch to an exfoliating acid serum that uses salicylic acid such as BHA Clarifying Serum.
#10 Are you using an IUD?
IUD’s, while a very popular form of birth control, can cause acne. This is listed as a side effect of IUD’s containing progesterone, specifically Mirena, Skyla and possibly Liletta. The IUD releases progestin into the body, and this is converted into progesterone. This, then, turns into various types of testosterone. These hormones can overstimulate oil glands. When oil mixes with dead cells in the pore lining, this can trigger acne. This is particularly a cause of cystic acne—the hard, painful bumps that develop deep within the skin and can linger for weeks. Read how this client got rid of hormonal breakouts caused by an IUD.
Pro Tip: Since the underlying cause of IUD-induced breakouts is a hormonal imbalance, it’s best to consult with your physician. He or she can help you explore the possibility of starting some hormone-regulating medications to counteract the testosterone. Some people see an improvement from a medication known as Spirolactone. It was originally developed as a diuretic to treat high blood pressure, but it’s now being prescribed off-label for improving adult acne in women. It works by blocking androgen hormones from stimulating oil glands. Another option is to prescribe a patch that releases a small amount of estrogen. If need be, some people simply have the IUD removed.
#11 Have you recently started using a Clarisonic brush or facial scrub?
When rubbed too hard on the skin, sonic brushes and/or abrasive facial scrubs can increase breakout activity. I think this may have to do with what type of product applied immediately after. Physical exfoliators like these can potentially create pathways in the pores into which pore-clogging moisturizers can enter further. This can create blockages in the pores which leads to bumps and breakouts. For many, the benefits of exfoliation that these provide can actually help lessen breakouts. However, I know that personally, I need to be careful with scrubs. As for the Clarisonic, I never use one and here’s why.
Pro tip: When using a Clarisonic or a facial scrub, be sure to avoid using too much pressure when massaging these over the face. Go lightly. In addition, pay close attention to what you’re applying to the skin afterward. Choose an oil-free serum and moisturizer. These are better choices for breakout-prone skin. If you suspect physical exfoliators might be a problem for you, consider switching to an acid exfoliator. These work in an entirely different way to remove surface dry skin cells.
So there you have it. These are some of the most common causes of breakouts that I tend to see. It’s very, very challenging to ever truly know why one gets breakouts in their adult years but hopefully, this provides some fresh insight and gives you some new things to try. Lastly, if and when you do get your next blemish, be sure to get rid of it fast using all the products and tools found in this Zit Care Kit.
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the health and safety of sunscreen lately. Mostly it is the result of a recent FDA study, which you might have seen in the news. This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that chemicals in sunscreen were absorbed into the bloodstream at levels potentially much higher than previously believed. This definitely sounds scary, but what are the implications for you? In this post, I’ll give my take on these findings and then share why I think people are overlooking a really simple, no-fuss, controversy-free form of sun protection.
Unpacking the FDA Sunscreen Study
First and foremost, know that the authors of this study are NOT saying you should stop wearing sunscreen. We’ve known for a long time that chemicals in sunscreen can be absorbed through the skin. What this study did show was that these chemicals stayed in the subjects’ blood for about a week after they stopped applying sunscreen and that concentrations continued to rise over the course of the study. People were understandably concerned when they read these headlines, but it’s important to put the information into context. First of all, the fact that an ingredient ends up in our bodies does not inherently mean that it is toxic or harmful. Second, this study was done under maximal use conditions, meaning subjects applied the amount of sunscreen you actually need to reach the SPF rating on the label. To give you an idea, that’s about a full shot glass of sunscreen. That’s a lot more than most people generally use, and these subjects applied that amount four times a day for four consecutive days before their blood was tested. Now don’t get me wrong, this is definitely the amount of sunscreen you should be wearing if you’re walking around on a beach all day in a bathing suit, but for must of us, that’s not what a typical day looks like. The sample size for this study was also very small, and there were so many factors that weren’t controlled for: how the sunscreen was delivered (spray, lotion or cream), water exposure and how active the participants were, to name a few.
How Do I Know if Ingredients Are Safe?
Remember that this was by no means the first time these ingredients were tested for safety. Sunscreens in the U.S. are regulated as a drug, not a cosmetic. This means they’ve already undergone rigorous testing for safety and efficacy and there are always people working behind the scenes to make sure products continue to be safe for personal use. In fact, what this study should bring to light for you, the consumer, is that it proves that chemists, doctors, and scientific researchers are working passionately to make sure we know everything about the safety of the compounds we put into and onto our bodies. What most people don’t often think about is that these researchers are motivated by a pursuit of the truth, but also by personal ambition. Much like an actor wants to win an Oscar, a chemist or researcher would love to be credited with an important discovery that would help keep people safe and garner recognition.
For me, being in the skincare industry, it’s part of my job to stay on top of new findings that are relevant to your health and safety, and to provide you with accurate information to the best of my knowledge. I am always researching this, and at the end of the day, I also want to be safe. If there was something alarming to me, I would certainly be talking about it. Read the post I recently wrote on clean beauty and the safety of ingredients in skincare.
So, What’s Next?
Bottom line, this study did NOT show that chemicals in sunscreen are dangerous to our health. It showed that they can be absorbed into our blood at levels that triggered FDA requirements for more safety data. This basically means that going forward, manufacturers will have to perform tests and provide the FDA with better data so researchers can make sure these ingredients are safe for daily, long-term use. The FDA is also looking into updating its regulatory requirements for sunscreen, including how it is labeled. As always, I will continue to update you and share information as it becomes available. In the meantime, keep wearing sunscreen. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and the dangers of overexposure to the sun are well-documented. Sunscreen is a key component of protecting yourself from UV damage and should always be used, along with other sun protection measures.
If you’re still worried about using sunscreen, note that this study only considered chemical sunscreens. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—the minerals used in physical sunscreens—have been designated by the FDA as GRASE (Generally Regarded as Safe and Effective). While I believe the most effective sunscreens are those that use a combination of both chemical and physical blockers, you can certainly find sunscreens that use only physical blockers. Learn more about the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen.
Why You Should Really be Using Sun Protective Clothing
As I said, the results of this study don’t mean you should stop using sunscreen, and I will certainly continue to use it myself. But for anyone who chooses to be really concerned about topical application of sunscreen, you should seek out clothing as a way to get protection. I have always been a huge proponent of sun-protective clothing. A mistake I often see people making is that they rely on sunscreen as their first (or even only) line of defense against sun damage. This mentality is common. People think, “I’m wearing sunscreen, so I can be out in the sun as much as I want and I’ll be protected.” Trust me, this is not the case, and acting like this will put you at risk for premature photo-aging, or worse, skin cancer. Read about my personal experience with skin cancer.
In order to effectively protect yourself against harmful UV rays, you really need to be looking at the bigger picture when it comes to sun protection. Here are three steps you can follow that (along with using sunscreen) will always keep you protected.
Use UPF Clothing
Any clothing that covers your skin is a step in the right direction. But if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors (think hiking or a day at the beach), take it further by wearing clothes that actually have a UPF rating. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and the ratings typically range anywhere from 15-50. The higher the rating, the better the sun protection (it’s basically SPF for clothes). The white hat and shirt I’m wearing in the picture above are both UPF rated! Some of my favorite sun protection clothing brands are Cover and Sun Precautions.
I’ve always preferred sun protective clothing as my first line of defense when I know I’ll be outside for a long time. It’s so much easier than constantly re-applying sunscreen, and you don’t have to worry about uneven application leaving parts of your skin vulnerable. Speaking of which, read about this one piece of clothing I never wear.
Wear Hats and Sunglasses
Hats and sunglasses are an extension of sun protective clothing. Sun hats can also have UPF ratings and are a great, easy way to protect the delicate skin on your face and neck. Be sure to pick a hat with a brim that goes all the way around and extends out far enough to give you good coverage. A good brand for sun hats is Wallaroo—they’re relatively affordable and have high UPF ratings.
Everyone knows the eye area is the first to show signs of aging. This is because the skin in that area is so thin, which also makes it susceptible to skin cancer. Wearing sunglasses that cover the whole orbital area is a good way to minimize your risk. It also keeps you from squinting, which leads to fine lines and wrinkles.
Avoid Peak Sun Hours
These can be different depending on where you live, but the general rule is from 10 am to 4 pm. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go outside at all, it just means you should avoid prolonged, direct sun exposure and stay protected.
Why Seeking Out Shade Isn’t Enough
A lot of people might rely on an umbrella for sun protection during a day at the beach, but the shade does NOT equal sunscreen. You’re still exposed to UV rays that cause premature skin aging and skin cancer. In the picture above where I’m at the beach, I’m wearing a UPF shirt as I mentioned, but I made sure to put sunscreen on my legs knowing they were exposed to UV rays despite the shade.
So there you have it. Doing these three things in conjunction with wearing sunscreen will ensure you stay protected! I hope this information helps you and clears up any confusion or concern you may have had about the recent FDA study.
Now more than ever, people are trying to get a jump start on preventing wrinkles at an earlier age. By practicing good lifestyle and skincare habits now, you’ll get a big payoff in years to come with beautiful, glowing skin that shows fewer lines, wrinkles and brown spots.
It’s a fact that preventing visible skin aging is far easier and less expensive than getting rid of it once it appears. In this post, you’ll learn ten easy tips you can start following at any age to prevent wrinkles for a long-lasting youthful appearance.
How should I be caring for my skin to prevent wrinkles and slow down visible aging?
1. Re-assess any prescription medications that you may be taking orally or applying to your skin.
The most common medications for the skin are:
Oral antibiotics for clearing acne
Topical creams and gels for clearing acne
Birth control pills
Prescription retinoids for clearing blemishes (these can also help with wrinkle prevention by improving the skin’s texture)
As you get well into your 20s, all of these medications (except the prescription retinoids) could be negatively affecting the appearance of your skin. Dryness, irritation or pigmentation are all common side effects, and these are never good for your skin’s health—or in your quest to prevent wrinkles.
You may have outgrown your acne, and oral or topical medication may no longer be needed.
Are you still using acne products prescribed to you in your younger years? Do you fear if you go off of them, you’ll be back to your teenage breakouts? In a lot of cases, by the time you’re in your 20s, you may have outgrown the severe, hormone-induced acne from your younger years. Why continue to use these medications if you don’t need them? I believe oral antibiotics should be a short-term strategy and should not be overused, but this is ultimately a conversation between you and your doctor. If a topical prescription cream is drying out your skin, this can be easily controlled by switching it out for a gentler, non-prescription option. To clear and prevent breakouts, I recommend using a product with salicylic acid like BHA Clarifying Serum or Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum. Additionally, a spot treatment like Anti Bump Solution can be used for cystic hormonal breakouts without drying out the skin. The goal is to create a healthy, balanced environment for the skin so it can look its best and slow down the process of developing signs of aging—like wrinkles!
Did you know that birth control pills can increase skin pigmentation above the upper lip, cheeks, and forehead?
A lot of people wonder why they have a dark shading (kind of like a mustache) above their lip, or patches of brown pigment on areas of their face. More than likely, this could be caused by the hormonal changes occurring from birth control pills that stimulate melanin production. This condition is called melasma and can occur at any time and just show up out of nowhere. Talk with your doctor about potentially changing doses because the longer pigmentation is there, the more difficult it may be to get rid of later on. Read how birth control pills affect the skin.
Using a retinoid prescription for acne? Stick with it since it’s helping to prevent wrinkles.
One of the greatest discoveries in skincare was finding out that an FDA-approved topical cream developed for acne treatment was, in fact, doing double duty as a wrinkle prevention product. You can read all about how this was discovered here (it’s a great story!). If you had acne as a teen and were prescribed a retinoid cream or gel, consider yourself lucky. You got a serious jumpstart on preventing wrinkles, and I highly recommend you keeping using it. (More on this in #8 below.)
2. For wrinkle prevention, don’t get caught in the cycle of over-drying your skin.
I often hear, “My skin can get dry so I need a good moisturizer that won’t cause me to breakout.” Sound familiar? My first question is always “Why is your skin feeling so dry?” It’s usually because someone is exfoliating way too much or using a drying cleanser and damaging their skin’s protective barrier. Your skin cells are like fish and need water to live, so you don’t want to be putting the skin in an unhealthy state by using harsh products. Dry, damaged skin is more prone to developing early signs of visible aging, so your approach to treating adult breakouts needs to be different than the strategy you would’ve used as a teenager. If you’re still getting breakouts, there are gentle ways to keep your skin clear that won’t cause damage to your protective barrier. Using a hydrating acne mask like Rapid Response Detox Masque can be incredibly effective (yes, shocking I know. There is such a thing as an acne mask that actually hydrates!). Or better yet, use this peel/mask duo every week to really get adult breakouts under control while simultaneously preventing wrinkles.
3. To prevent wrinkles, get to know your skin type and use products exclusively for your needs and goals.
For most people, your skin acts way different now than when you were younger. It’s important to keep evolving your skin routine as your skin changes in order to get the desired results. If you’re still thinking you need to put your skin into the standard dry, normal and oily skin types, it’s time that you think about your skin in a new way. It can be hard to find a routine that works in harmony to give your skin the perfect balance, but it is possible. Your skin changes every decade and you need to know the best way to care for it. I have developed nine skin types that I believe truly reflect the real-world needs of peoples’ skin. Find your true skin type by taking my skin type quiz. You can also schedule a virtual consultation with an esthetician for personalized advice.
4. Be mindful of how you sleep so you can prevent wrinkles from appearing.
It’s thought that after sun exposure, the second cause of wrinkles is from sleep. Specifically, the position of your face on your pillow at night can make a difference. As an esthetician, I can tell by looking at some faces (more so after the age of 45) if they are a side or back sleeper. Side sleepers will have creases on their chest known as “sleep cleavage”. On the face, I can see a vertical line that has formed in the area where their nose and cheek meet (I see this more often on men). For back sleepers, I’ll see deeper horizontal lines on their neck from this area being squished with the chin pushing down.
For me, as you can see in this photo, I choose to sleep on my side with my head positioned in the bottom corner of an extra firm pillow. I know many of you think that you can’t really control your position once you sleep, but I challenge you to think differently. I believe that your subconscious can control it if it’s really important to you. That’s been my experience, at least. There are also special sleep pillows that can force you to stay in a certain position, so you might consider those.
5. For wrinkle prevention, get serious about your sun protection—365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out.
How to help wrinkles not come on as quickly? Sunscreen, when applied generously during your morning skincare routine and then reapplied as needed, is the MOST effective way to prevent wrinkles. Daylight and sunlight (even when coming through windows) are causing a considerable amount of DNA damage to your skin without you even realizing it. Many people are still not making sunscreen use an everyday habit. The reason is usually that they can’t find a proper sunscreen that is compatible with their skin type, since many sunscreens can feel heavy or clog the pores. I’m here to tell you that sunscreens have come a long way. There are many great formulas available that won’t feel greasy or cause breakouts. It’s so important to find a sunscreen that you’ll actually enjoy wearing day in and day out. This way, you’ll actually use it and you can feel confident that you’re using the best, most effective “wrinkle cream” on the planet. Recommended lightweight sunscreen:Weightless Protection SPF 30 is a lightweight daily moisturizer that will not cause breakouts. Trust me on this one. As a bonus, it can be used nicely under makeup and won’t pill or ball up. If you want to increase protection against UV rays to really slow down visible signs of aging, consider adding an antioxidant serum into your morning routine. When applied underneath your sunscreen, antioxidants can actually increase your sunscreen’s effectiveness! Recommended product: Vitamin C&E Treatment.
“Preventing visible skin aging is far easier and less expensive than getting rid of it once it appears.”
6. To prevent wrinkles, treat your neck as an extension of your face.
To my younger readers: thanks to research and greater awareness of what causes skin aging, you have access to a lot more knowledge about how to prevent wrinkles than your mother did. Embrace it! That being said, you face a challenge your mother probably didn’t face. Looking down at a cell phone all day is not helping you prevent neck aging. You may have heard the term “tech neck” before. The ideas is that the 45-degree angle at which you hang your head to look at your cell phone causes a repeated squishing of the neck, resulting in premature folds and wrinkles (similar to what happens to back sleepers). When it comes to aging, the neck is at a disadvantage to begin with since there is less bone structure to support the skin that in the face. This will all lead to eventual sagging. In your quest to prevent wrinkles, you want to pay attention to how you care for your neck.
Treat your neck as its own area.
Don’t make the mistake of treating your neck as an afterthought. For example, a person will typically rub moisturizer onto his or her face, and then whatever is left over on the fingertips will be brought down onto the neck. Sound familiar? While the intention is good, it’s truly not helping that much in the quest for keeping the skin on the neck tight and smooth. You must apply your skin care products to the neck in the same way you would apply them to the face and treat it as a separate, second applications.
Apply sunscreen to the neck generously.
Just like the face, sunscreen needs to be applied generously in order to offer full sun protection and prevent wrinkles. The best way to apply sunscreen to the neck is by doing a full, second application once you’ve covered your face. You must be thorough in your application in order to get actual protection from harmful UV rays. Read how to apply sunscreen to the face and neck.
Someone once told me, “You’re only as young as your neck.” I believe it.
7. How to prevent wrinkles around the eyes? Start using an eye cream and under-eye exfoliator NOW.
Did you know that the eye area is the first area to age due to wear and tear from smiling, squinting and rubbing? Keeping it hydrated and nourished is essential for preventing premature lines and wrinkles. It’s important to know that eye creams don’t need to be heavy and greasy to work. In fact, the heavier they are, the more they could actually be causing wrinkles. This can happen when oils seep into the eyes and cause puffiness, which can stretch out the skin and weaken elasticity.
Choose a nourishing eye cream with skin-firming peptides.
The skin under the eyes gets weak easily, so you want an eye cream that does more than just moisturize. Ingredients like peptides help support the skins’ structure to keep it intact. Recommended eye cream:Total Repair Eye Creme
Use a lighter weight eye cream under makeup in the morning.
Be sure to exfoliate under the eyes to smooth away dryness.
If the skin under your eyes is dry and looks crepey, gentle exfoliation will make a huge improvement. Plus, your eye care products will work more efficiently when they don’t have to try and break through dry skin cell buildup. Recommended under-eye exfoliator:Overnight Eye Serum
I swear by eye creams for the prevention of wrinkles and I swear by these 10 skincare rules, too.
8. Use a product with retinol or a prescription retinoid. Aside from sunscreen, this is the most effective product to prevent wrinkles.
Hands down the most tried and true, biologically-proven topical anti-aging ingredient is Vitamin A, also known as retinoid or retinol. As mentioned above, consider yourself lucky if you have been using it since your teens or 20s for acne. However, if you’ve never used a Vitamin A product before, you should really start using a non-prescription retinol product. I recommend Advanced Resurfacing Serum to my clients because it’s so safe for sensitive skin and you will not experience the harsh side effects that can accompany a prescription retinoid. If you are in your 20s and start consistently using a retinol product now, then you should never have to switch over to a stronger prescription. The idea is that you’re getting ahead of you wrinkles by using it preventatively, and consistency is almost always more important than potency. Someone in their 50s who already has sun damage may need to start with a prescription immediately to achieve more dramatic results, and then manage the side effects of dryness.
9. Use a Botox-free alternative for preventing forehead and between-the-brow wrinkles.
I get asked all the time by people in their 20s, “Do you think I should start getting Botox to prevent wrinkles? I’m starting to notice a crease. Is Botox safe?” I generally don’t think it’s a good idea for most people in their 20s to start getting Botox unless it’s needed (Read if you need it here). However, I do believe it’s perfectly safe. I personally have it done between my brows and around my eyes since my mid-30s, so I am a fan.
A much less expensive option for the prevention of wrinkles is applying Frownies at night while you sleep. I know it seems a bit silly, but it does work. Dreaming at night, along with the position of your face on your pillow when you sleep, can create a lot of facial movements. By applying these easy-to-use patches that freeze your expressions, you’re actually doing a lot to prevent the formation of wrinkles. Of course, using sunscreen and products with retinol and antioxidants all help you achieve younger-looking skin, too.
10. Put your skin in the hands of a professional.
While using a good home-care routine designed for your specific skin type is essential, your skin will greatly benefit from additional care with professional treatments like facials, lasers, and chemical peels. These can all help prevent wrinkles. Not only are you getting a skin treatment that will target your wrinkle concerns, but you’ll also be getting guidance from an expert. They can guide you on how to care for your skin at home in between your visits. When people attempt to go it alone, they often get confused and end up using a routine that isn’t delivering the results they need. Read how to do the perfect morning skincare routine and nighttime skincare routine.
So there you have it. These ten things to start doing NOW to prevent wrinkles will truly set you up for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful skin with a #ReneeRouleauGLOW. Trust me when I say, don’t just rely on good genetics to carry you through. Good habits are EVERYTHING. And my 11th tip? Read my blog for more of my expert advice. Enjoy!
Being in the beauty industry as well as in the public eye, I feel it’s important to look my best. And certainly, as women, when we look our best, we feel our best, right? I’ve shared so many tips about skincare and skin health on my blog, so for this post I thought I’d switch gears a little and share 11 of my favorite beauty tips and tricks that I follow faithfully.
Beauty Tip #1To give an instant glow, I wear a bright blush or lip color.
As I’ve talked about before in this post, our glow starts to fade as we get older and the color of the skin can tend to look washed out. Applying a cool-based color of blush onto the apples of my cheeks or a hot pink or red lipstick to my lips instantly brightens up my complexion. This is my best pick-me-up trick after traveling on an airplane when I’m looking and feeling blah. If you wear makeup, stop doing these 12 things to your skin.
Beauty Tip #2I protect my hands with mineral powder.
Despite being an esthetician for 30 years and always dipping my hands into amazing skin creams, oils and serums, my hands are still definitely showing the signs of aging. Most people are diligent about protecting their face, but the hands can be neglected. Sound familiar? My favorite, easy-breezy, hassle-free tip for the hands is to dust on an SPF mineral powder. I keep one in my car to easily dust on my hands and protect them when they are on the steering wheel, and I will always brush some on before I take a bicycle ride. I usually use ColoreScience Mineral Powder. It’s super easy to use for instant sun protection, and I’ll dust it on my face throughout the day, too.
Beauty Tip #3I strategically sleep with my head a certain way on a firm pillow.
The second cause of wrinkles is sleeping. After sunlight/UV exposure, squishing the face into a pillow at night is like ironing wrinkles into the skin. For years, I have positioned my head so that the lower part of my face never even touches the pillow. See how I sleep.
Beauty Tip #4I shave my face.
A few years ago, I started shaving my face. I sometimes do it at home with this special razor, or I get dermaplaning done. For women in their 40s (like me), the slow decrease of estrogen in our bodies can cause an increase in facial hair, but shaving can keep that hair growth in check. Also, any product you put on the skin directly after shaving (ideally a high-potency specialty serum for your skin type) will absorb into the skin more effectively. Since it removes peach fuzz, another bonus is that it allows for seamless foundation application. (And just for the record, no, your hair will absolutely NOT grow back thicker and darker. If this were the case, then we would have just discovered the cure for baldness. Think about how many bald men shave their heads yet it’s certainly not stimulating hair growth.)
Beauty tip #5I am super diligent about caring for my teeth—so much so that I use three toothbrushes.
The teeth get crooked with age and they take on a dull, yellow color. I always want to be confident in my smile, so I do everything possible to ensure they stay looking nice. While I had braces in my teens, I threw out my retainer years back so my teeth got crooked again. I went through the Invisalign system many years back, and now I still continue to wear the final retainer almost every single night to keep them in their place. To brush my teeth, I use a soft toothbrush first. Then I use a sonic toothbrush for a second cleanse, and a hard toothbrush for my tongue. Once a month, I’ll do three nights in a row of Opalescence whitening. Lastly, I get a regular teeth cleaning and check-up every six months. I don’t mess around when it comes to my teeth. Funny fact: whenever I go to France, my family will tease me and say I have “American teeth” because they are so white and straight. I have no shame in my teeth game!
Beauty Tip #6I get a few hair extensions, not for length, but to increase volume.
As many of you may have discovered if you’re over 40, the hair starts to thin out. I recently started getting just a few extensions put in on the sides just to give a little fullness. It’s super easy because I don’t have a lot put in, but it makes a big difference. (They dye them pastel pink to match my hair color.)
Beauty Tip #7I keep up with fashion and don’t get stuck in a clothing rut. I also buy my clothes at stores where younger people shop.
Certain stores have an age demographic to which they cater. While I think it’s important to dress appropriately for your age, (women in their 40s never look good dressing like their teenage daughters, right?) I also think that, if you want to look ten years younger, why not dress ten years younger? That being said, I never go it alone. When shopping in a store, I find someone who works there and whose style I admire. I ask them to help me pick out some new clothes and let them be my personal shopper.
Tip: If you specifically say, “I’m in a rut with my clothes and want to update my look,” they will work their magic on you. Don’t fall into the “Oh, it’s not my style” trap. Change is not easy, and when it comes to style its easy to go with the same old, same old. Sometimes, it’s time for a fresh new look and a new set of eyes. Trust me, making this kind of change on the outside will give you a confidence boost and make you feel different on the inside, too. People will notice the change!
Beauty Tip #10I never neglect the skin on my neck.
To look younger, it’s really important to focus on the skin on your neck as well as the skin on your face. While I, like many people, neglected to care for my neck in my early years, I am much more diligent about it now. I love using a gentle exfoliating scrub on my neck with Mint Buffing Beads a couple of times a week. Then, every night, I apply Intensive Firming Neck Creme. I definitely had my fair share of sun exposure in my teen years, so here is how I repair the sun damage on my neck and chest.
Beauty Tip #11I make getting beauty sleep a top priority.
Between work, exercise, daily stresses, frequent travel and public speaking or appearances, I can run my body down easily. If I don’t get enough sleep, it can take its toll on my health and begin to show in my skin. At night, while we sleep, the body repairs itself for a fresh start the next day. When I shortchange my body on sleep, I can certainly feel it and see it. When I travel, I use a white noise app on my phone to tune out background noise. It helps tremendously in giving me an uninterrupted night of sleep.
I try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night if I can, and I’ll often take a 30-minute power nap when I’m at the office. I really think the key to youthful looking skin and having an inner glow is taking great care of your body, and I consider sleep to be a crucial component of this.
I hope you found these 11 beauty tips and tricks helpful! Want to learn more about how I care for my skin? Here are 10 skincare rules I swear by.
IUDs have become a popular method of contraception for many women, and for good reason. They are convenient, safe and very effective. While IUDs undoubtedly have many benefits, some women can experience an unwanted side effect: hormonal acne.
In this post, I’ll explain why IUDs can sometimes cause acne and how to manage this if it happens to you. You’ll also meet Amanda from Chicago. Amanda reached out to us on Instagram after experiencing hormonal acne for the first time. She suspected her breakouts were related to the IUD she’d had placed a couple months prior, and after doing some research she started using Renée Rouleau products to help clear her skin. We were so impressed by the before and after photos Amanda sent, that I personally called her for a follow-up consultation, at which point she kindly agreed to be profiled for our blog! Keep reading to learn about Amanda’s skin care journey and how she got her breakouts under control, step-by-step.
Do Hormonal IUDs Cause Acne?
The short answer is…they can. As a practicing esthetician, I’ve heard countless stories similar to Amanda’s and have come to my own conclusion that an IUD can be the underlying cause of breakouts for some women. The thing is, when it comes to acne, each person is unique. It’s important to keep in mind that it can be very difficult to pinpoint a single cause of breakouts but sometimes, through some detective work, you can discover the underlying issue.
Why some IUDs cause acne
Hormonal IUDs may trigger acne for some women because they release progestin (an artificial form of the hormone progesterone) into the body. When progesterone levels are increased, this can, in turn, increase the number of androgenic hormones (like testosterone) in a woman’s body. Androgens can cause acne by overstimulating oil glands, especially when you combine this with dead cells in the pore lining and trigger breakout activity. (Read more about how acne develops.)
If an IUD is, in fact, the culprit behind your acne, breakouts typically start occurring 2-3 months after insertion. While IUDs can cause all types of acne (pustules, papules, cysts), I have most commonly seen them trigger cystic acne in the chin and jawline area.
If you’re someone who is prone to cystic acne and have had it before, your risk for developing hormonal acne from an IUD may be higher. If this is the case, one option you can look into is ParaGard. Paragard is the only non-hormonal IUD approved by the FDA and uses copper to prevent pregnancy. Of course, talk to your doctor when trying to decide which form of contraception is right for you and be sure to tell them if you have a history of acne and are concerned about it. Certain types of hormonal contraception may actually be able to improve acne, and your doctor is definitely the best person to give you guidance on this.
How to Treat Hormonal Acne From an IUD—Amanda’s Story
Amanda was used to experiencing the odd breakout here and there, but nothing more. Then, after getting the Mirena IUD in November 2018, she started experiencing an eruption of cystic acne on her chin in January, just two months later. Suspecting her IUD had something to do with it, Amanda got to googling.
She told me, “I found out about Renée Rouleau after doing some research about IUDs and acne. When I started breaking out on my chin, it was out of nowhere and it was so painful. I needed help immediately! I confided in my friend Sonia, and she helped me calm down and do some research. We came across an article this girl had written about how her IUD gave her hormonal acne and learned that she had used Anti Bump Treatment and Rapid Response Detox Masque to get her breakouts under control.”
About a week after the hormonal acne on Amanda’s chin appeared, Sonia ordered the Rapid Response Detox Masque and Anti Bump Solution for her, and Amanda started using them regularly in her routine (now THAT’S what I call a good friend!).
“I was using the Detox Masque all over my face twice a week at night, and I used Anti Bump Solution as a spot treatment on my chin morning and night. As quickly as the next day, my blemishes started to go down. After a few days they were fading and they weren’t as red and painful. I call these two products game changers, and that’s what really turned my skin around.”
When Amanda sent me her progress pictures just ten days after starting to use these two products, she had almost no active blemishes left. What a success! A lot of our customers have had great results using these two products together, but talking to Amanda and seeing the contrast in her photos side-by-side was what ultimately inspired me to create our new Chin Breakout Kit. This kit includes Amanda’s two hero products, which I really wanted to put together to make this combo even more accessible to anyone struggling with stubborn chin and jawline breakouts. My favorite thing about this kit is that it uses a combination of ingredients to effectively tackle acne from all sides while still being really gentle on the skin.
When I called Amanda for a follow-up skin consultation, I asked her these ten questions (that I asked Heather) to see if we could discover more about the root cause of her breakouts. During our conversation, I learned that Amanda had started the Keto diet in December 2018. Because of the diet’s guidelines, Amanda was eating a lot more dairy than usual. When clients come to me with cystic acne, I often advise that they try cutting out dairy for at least three weeks to see if this could be a contributing factor. If dairy is the root cause of your acne, you’ll typically start breaking out within 24-48 hours of consuming it. Amanda’s acne started to appear a few weeks after she started her diet, so while the increase in dairy consumption could definitely have exacerbated her breakouts, it probably wasn’t the root cause. Amanda stopped following the Keto diet mid-January.
As I said, by the time I spoke with Amanda, her breakouts were no longer active, but they had left behind rough, dark marks all over her chin. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (caused by acne or any other trauma to the skin) typically affects those with darker skin tones more. This is because melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment, are already more active in darker skin tones, so when the skin is injured these cells produce an excess of melanin that causes dark marks to form. If you have a darker skin tone, it is extra important that you regularly use sunscreen to protect your skin against harmful UV rays, as sun exposure worsens PIH. Also be sure to avoid irritating the skin with harsh acne products, since this irritation can cause further trauma to the skin and lead to more hyperpigmentation.
Amanda’s Skincare Routine—What Worked
When Amanda first started getting cystic acne on her chin, she cleared her active blemishes by using Rapid Response Detox Masque all over her chin at night twice a week and Anti Bump Solution as a spot treatment on her chin both night and day. Talking with Amanda inspired me to send her a few more products to help fade her hyperpigmentation and get her across the finish line. (*Full disclosure: At this point, I sent her four free products to try to help with discoloration.) I also advised her to start using Rapid Response Detox Masque three times a week instead of two.
Here’s what Amanda’s current routine to fade hyperpigmentation and manage breakouts looks like:
“I was using the Detox Masque all over my face twice a week at night, and I used Anti Bump Solution as a spot treatment on my chin morning and night. I call these two products game changers, and that’s what really turned my skin around.”
Two weeks ago (end of March 2019), Amanda visited her grandparents in Florida, and the combination of travel and change in climate caused her to develop a few new breakouts on her cheeks and forehead. I advised her to use the Rapid Response Detox Masque all over the affected areas for a minimum of five minutes every night to reset her skin. This took care of things, but I wanted to share this because it’s so common to have little setbacks like this when it comes to breakouts. Like I always say, there is no cure for acne, but the goal is to control it. Amanda is proof that you can handle whatever gets thrown your way when you use the right products for your skin type!
Amanda’s Advice to Anyone Struggling With Acne
“It’s really hard, but try not to panic. After a while, I realized that panicking was making me obsess about my acne, so I wasn’t thinking clearly. Then I took a step back and thought about what might be causing my acne, which I definitely recommend. Just do a brainstorm and try to remember if you recently changed anything like diet, birth control or travel. Once you figure out what it might be, do research based off that and see what’s worked for other people. Talking to my friend helped a lot, too. It’s nice to confide in someone who can support you, and maybe even talk to someone who has gone through acne themselves.”
“As for the IUD, I’m definitely keeping it now that I have my breakouts under control. I knew that it would take some time for my body to adjust, so if I were still breaking out that badly in six months or a year, I would get it taken out, but right now I’m happy with it.”
Regularly incorporating active ingredients into your skin care routine is truly one of the easiest and most effective ways to create positive changes for your skin.
In this post, I’ll explain what it truly means for an ingredient to be considered an “active” and give you a list of 20 of my favorite ingredients. Don’t see one of your favorite active ingredient on my list? There is no shortage of many other good ones out there, but I had to draw the line somewhere!
What is an Active Ingredient?
According to the FDA, a true “active” ingredient in skin care products is one that has been determined to give a biological effect based on scientific assessment. Sunscreen is an example of a product containing ingredients that fall under this official definition. Because sunscreen is considered a drug, the back of the container will list the ingredients that actually protect against UV rays as “active.”
In recent years, however, people have started using the word “actives” more conversationally. It is now often used to indicate any ingredient within a formula that gives a specific, proposed benefit to the skin. Basically, any ingredient that modern researchers and experts believe to be effective for driving results. I’m a stickler for using proper terms because it’s been ingrained in me through all of my formal cosmetic chemistry training. Recently though, I’ve loosened up on this a little and use the word “actives” more freely now. That being said, I do think it’s important that you understand the true meaning so you can be a well-informed skin care consumer.
Twenty of the Best Active Skin Care Ingredients
This list of my favorite active ingredients is based on both scientific research and my own experience formulating products for 25 years. These are the “active” ingredients that I believe will truly have a visible and positive impact on your skin. I have chosen to use many of these actives in my own line.
What does Algae do?
Algae are chlorophyll-containing organisms that act as an immune-system enhancer. Because algae contain an abundance of vitamin and minerals, they are considered to have “healing” capabilities. This makes algae an ideal ingredient for those whose skin is exposed to environmental stressors (which, in this day and age, is all of us). Algae are also effective at repairing the skin’s moisture barrier. In nature, algae are constantly being exposed to extreme conditions, and over time these plants have developed defense systems against the elements. These defense systems can be equally beneficial when applied to human skin.
Other types of algae include: Ahnfeltia concinna (red marine algae) extract, seahorse plankton, Laminaria digitata (algae) extract, Chlorella vulgaris extract and astaxanthin.
Who should use Algae?
Anyone seeking smoother and more supple skin with increased hydration and firmness.
Algae side effects
None. However, if someone is highly allergic to shellfish, they might want to patch test a product with algae prior to use on the whole face.
Astaxanthin is a powerful, carotenoid antioxidant derived from micro algae. It protects tissues, cells, and membranes from destructive, aging surface free radicals. This helps to reduce the look of wrinkles by encouraging a smoother, more youthful looking skin. Astaxanthin is known to be one of the best active ingredients for preventative aging.
Who should use Astaxanthin?
Anyone who wants to prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It is particularly beneficial for those who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful acne treatment that works by starving acne-causing bacteria of nutritional resources and breaking up the debris inside clogged pores. The result is a quicker recovery time for infected blemishes.
Who should use Benzoyl Peroxide?
Anyone who gets pustular blemishes and whiteheads, wants clearer skin and is not responding well to salicylic acid or other acne ingredients.
Benzoyl Peroxide side effects
Drying and flakiness will occur if overused.
Some people are allergic to this ingredient, so it’s best to perform a patch test.
Benzoyl peroxide is a strong oxidant, so it will promote the formation of free radicals and inflammation. Because of this, it’s best to limit your use of this ingredient to just a spot treatment, if possible. I recommend that your moisturizer contain antioxidants to help offset the free radical activity.
Beta glucan is a Biological Response Modifier (BRM) derived from yeast and grains. BRMs are substances that stimulate the body’s response to infection and disease. This means beta glucan supports the body’s natural ability to visibly correct itself by working within the Langerhans cells to encourage immune defense. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Who should use Beta Glucan?
Someone with any type of acne (cysts, pustules, papules). This ingredient plays a great supporting role when used in an acne-clearing routine by working to lessen breakouts and sensitivity from within.
Coenzyme Q-10 (Ubiquinone)
What does Coenzyme Q-10 do?
Coenzyme Q-10 makes the cellular fuel needed for building new cells and tissues more readily accessible. Since cell metabolism slows down with age, this ingredient plays a key role in keeping the face looking youthful, healthy and vibrant.
Who should use Coenzyme Q-10?
Anyone with a dull, sluggish look who wants a brighter complexion. Excellent for smokers.
Ergothioneine is a naturally-occurring amino acid that acts as a superior antioxidant, cell energizer, and brightener. It protects skin from the ozone in smog and airplane cabins, and it interrupts the aging process aggravated by free radicals in the environment. Ergothioneine is outstanding at protecting the mitochondrial membrane against oxidation. It will transfer fatty acids into the mitochondria so that oxygen is used more efficiently to produce more energy.
Who should use Ergothioneine?
Anyone with aging, dull-looking skin looking for a brighter, fresher complexion.
Ethyl Lactate is an ester form of lactic acid, which is a type of naturally occurring organic acid known as Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). Ethyl lactate can significantly reduce the skin’s pH as well as the amount of bacteria present. It encourages the chemical breakdown of sebum (oil), which is helps purify the pore and clears and calms visible bumps and cysts.
Who should use Ethyl Lactate?
Anyone in need of relief from painful, infected bumps and cysts.
Glycerin is a humectant (A.K.A a “moisture magnet”) that is derived from plant oils or the fermentation of sugars, or is synthetically produced. It attracts moisture from the air as well as from the lower layers of the skin to deliver it to the epidermis. This helps hold water between the cells to make the skin feel moist and bouncy.
None. However, when used in high concentrations (generally anything over 5%), glycerin can irritate the face and cause further dehydration when there is little moisture to draw from.
This occurs when…
Someone is already dehydrated on the skin’s surface as shown in this video.
The skin’s surface lipids are low.
Skin is in a hot, dry environment with low humidity (under 65%, which also includes airplanes).
Skin is suffering from internal dehydration.
Note: Because of this, most cosmetic formulas aren’t using glycerin in high concentrations. Generally, glycerin is used in concentrations of 2%-5% and is combined with emollients to offer other water-binding benefits.
Like ethyl lactate, glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) exfoliant that creates a chemical reaction to lower the skin’s pH. By lowering the pH, glycolic acid dissolves the “glue” that holds dry, expired cells together. This triggers the production of fresher, younger-looking cells. Of all exfoliating acids, glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure and can penetrate the farthest. This ingredient is one of the best active ingredients for improving the skin’s texture and making it appear smoother.
Who should use Glycolic Acid?
Anyone who wants to reduce the look of wrinkles, fine lines, irregular pigmentation, brown spots, and enlarged pores.
Glycolic Acid side effects
None, as long as you are using it correctly. Using an acid too often or incorrectly can result in a damaged barrier and trigger inflammation. Not good!
Green tea is rich in catechins and proanthocyanidins, which have been shown to be effective against the damaging free radical known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). A plant-based antioxidant, green tea is known for its soothing benefits as well its ability to calm signs of redness.
Who should use Green Tea?
Anyone who wants to prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It’s a must for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors.
Hyaluronic Acid (See also Sodium Hyaluronate)
What does Hyaluronic Acid do?
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body and acts as a lubricant for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. Like glycerin, hyaluronic acid is a humectant and attracts moisture from the air as well as from the lower layers of the skin to deliver it to the epidermis. This makes the face look and feel moist while increasing plumpness and elasticity. In skin care formulations, a concentration of 1%-2% is an effective amount to hydrate the skin. Note: An alternative name to hyaluronic acid is the ingredient sodium hyaluronate. See ingredient sodium hyaluronate below.
Who should use Hyaluronic Acid?
All skin types in need of hydration. Skin cells in all types need water to live, so there is no one that won’t benefit from this ingredient.
Hyaluronic Acid side effects
None. However, similarly to glycerin, you won’t be able to experience the benefits of hyaluronic acid if you live in an exceptionally dry climate because it won’t have moisture to bind to.
Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid that is sourced from fermented sugar (not milk) or used in a synthetic form. Like other AHAs, it chemically lowers the pH of the skin to exfoliate dry cells. It is a hydrophilic (water-loving) humectant, so it can also increase the skin’s ability to hold onto water while it exfoliates. It has a larger molecule than other AHA’s like glycolic acid, so it doesn’t penetrate as deeply. This make is a better option for sensitive, easily-irritated skins.
Who should use Lactic Acid?
Anyone who wants to reduce the look of wrinkles, fine lines, irregular pigmentation, brown spots and enlarged pores. Excellent for sensitive skin types.
Lactic Acid side effects
None, as long as you are using it correctly. Using an acid too often or incorrectly can result in a damaged barrier and trigger inflammation.
Niacinamide is truly an ingredient with multiple benefits. It is a water-soluble form of Vitamin B3 that boosts ceramide levels in the skin, improving its ability to hold on to moisture. Niacinamide does this by stimulating circulation in the dermis through a process known as vasodilation. Niacinamide can reduce the yellow-ish look to the face caused by the glycation of proteins, which is part of aging from environmental damage. It also serves as an antioxidant to protect cells, membranes, and tissues from free radical attacks. Niacinamide helps reduce discoloration (brown spots and post-breakout scars) by preventing the transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to the keratinocytes. Lastly, niacinamide offers anti-breakout and anti-bacterial benefits to reduce blemish activity. Because of its many benefits, niacinamide is one of the best active ingredients used in modern formulas.
Who should use Niacinamide?
Anyone looking to improve dryness, dehydration, brightness, blemishes, brown spots or discoloration from acne scarring and the signs of aging.
Niacinamide side effects
None. However, I have heard that some people can experience some redness when using niacinamide in high percentages. This is probably due to the vasodilation process.
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38 (Peptides)
What does Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38 do?
Peptides are long or short chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein that send signals to your cells to make more collagen and thicken the support structure of the skin. There are many different types of peptides, but I like palmitoyl tripeptide-38 because it is one of the most well-researched. Peptides are able to enter the cells and still remain intact. Most peptides function as moisture-binding agents and almost all of them have cell-communicating capabilities that send signals to repair itself. If you want firmer-looking skin, peptides are some of the best active ingredients to use. Other beneficial types of peptides include the following: palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl terapeptide-7, acetyl hexapeptide, palmitoyl pentapeptide, dipeptide-2 and caprooyl tetrapeptide.
Who should use Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38?
Anyone whose main focus is preventative aging and who wants firmer, smoother-looking skin.
Retinol is derived from pure, bioactive vitamin A. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient that can increase cell thickness, affect gene expression, increase the production of collagen from within and thin the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin consisting mostly of dead cells). With continued use, retinol improves the appearance dramatically and helps it to mature in a more desirable way. The texture on your face will be smoother with fewer visible wrinkles, lines, large pores, brown spots and scarring from acne. This magic ingredient is the ‘go-to’ for preventative visible aging and can deliver incredible smoothing and resurfacing results, as long as it’s used consistently and correctly.
Who should use Retinol?
Anyone over age 30 who wants to slow down visible aging and get a smoother, more even-toned texture.
Retinol side effects
Some initial dryness can occur in formulas with concentrations of 1% or higher, but not all formulas are made the same. If your face acts sensitive, look for a gentler formula. Retinol is not recommended during pregnancy. Read how to prevent dry, flaky side effects from retinol.
Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) famous for its bactericidal properties. It is a keratolytic, which means it breaks down the keratin that makes up the horny outer layers of the skin. These properties make salicylic acid ideal for preventing and clearing blemishes. Since salicylic acid is an exfoliant, it will also smooth the skin (without causing irritation) and fade acne scars. The difference between BHAs and AHAs is that BHAs are oil-soluble, which means they can penetrate the pore lining more effectively. This makes salicylic acid one of the best ingredients for preventing clogged pores, blackheads and closed comedones (non-infected bumps under the skin).
Who should use Salicylic acid?
Anyone who gets blemishes in their teen or adult years and wants a clearer, smoother complexion.
Salicylic acid side effects
None, as long as you are using it correctly. Using an acid too often or incorrectly can result in a damaged barrier and trigger inflammation. Salicylic acid is generally not recommended during pregnancy.
Sea whip extract is a soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps reduce redness and decrease sensitivity. Sea whip extract is produced by sea whip, a marine organism also known as Pseudopterogoria elisabethae. Sea whip extract works by inhibiting the inflammatory enzyme phospholipase A2. This enzyme is often responsible for irritation. With continued use, puffiness seems to go down, discomfort and surface tenderness are brought under control and weakened components of the skin that lead to chronic redness are strengthened. Sea whip extract is considered one of the best active ingredients for sensitivity.
Who should use Sea Whip Extract?
Anyone with redness, blotchiness, rosacea or acne who wants the skin to act calmer.