Can you combine acids in your skin care routine? Welcome to Dear Soko, a series dedicated to answering your biggest skin care questions with advice from Soko Glam’s skin experts. Whether you’re confused about specific ingredients or what you need to do to achieve healthier skin overall, these experts are here to guide you.
This week’s question comes from Maria, who has asked the following on our last Dear Soko about about an affordable K-beauty routine:
I am running out of my current products and after some research I was confident that my next cleansing/toner set would be: Hanskin Cleansing Oil and Blackhead PHA, COSRX Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, and the Benton Aloe BHA Skin toner.
But I just realized that all of them contain acids in the ingredients and it might not be a good idea to combine the three of them. My skin its very clogged and oily in the T-zone area with some general redness. I have used an 2% BHA acid before that made no difference in my skin, and only caused some flaking skin in the first days but zero improvement.
Would be a bad idea to use the three products together?”
Here’s Soko Glam’s skin expert’s answer
I’m a HUGE fan of BHA! I can sing the praises of BHA all day. What’s not to like?
It treats acne
It treats hyper pigmentation
It has anti-aging benefits
AND! It’s okay to have a little bit of it in all of your products; they’ll all work together to help you loosen up and remove dead skin, unclog your pores, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
My holy grail when I had massive breakouts on my cheeks and chin was the Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner. This toner treats, hydrates and repairs, and controlled my excess sebum production. This is the product that will have the most impact, of the three products you’re interested in. As this is a leave on product, it will provide more treatment than the double cleanse duo.
In regards to the 2% BHA product you’ve used in the past — If you still have it and it hasn’t expired. I would recommend introducing it back into your evening routine, but with the following tweaks:
Apply after toner (only in areas you are most congested), wait 15 minutes, then apply the rest of your skin care routine; 2-3x/wk. In the next morning routine, be sure to end with an SPF!
Why is my face red all the time? I’ve probably asked myself this more than I’d like to admit. It’s time to get to the bottom of constant redness.
Have you ever spent 30 minutes pampering your skin with an arsenal of products at night only to wake up with a splotchy complexion in the morning? Or maybe you’ve left the house with flawless skin only to be greeted by red patches in the office bathroom mirror?
There are a lot of reasons why, despite your best efforts, your skin could be flaring up. We asked two dermatologists to share their tips on getting to the bottom of the issue and because you can’t always control redness, the best remedies for calming down your complexion fast.
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Stress, spicy foods, alcohol, product sensitivity, exercise and even the temperature outside can all cause facial redness.
To help pinpoint your triggers – the first step in managing the issue – note if the redness developed after experiencing any of the factors listed above.
A red complexion could also be a sign that you’re not taking care of your body. “A few lifestyle habits that can help reduce facial redness include adequate intake of water, getting at least seven hours of sleep every night, consuming a balanced diet with good portions of fruits and vegetables and taking probiotics,” says Steve Wang, a New Jersey-based dermatologist and co-founder of Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare.
Or, your flushed cheeks could be the result of a common skin condition like rosacea, but more on that later.
HOW TO TREAT IT
Incorporating calming products with anti-inflammatory ingredients into your routine may not erase redness completely, but can help prevent flare-ups and tone them down.
Shah will sometimes advise her patients to whip up a calming mask at home (always consult with your dermatologist before trying any DIY treatment). Her personal recipe contains oatmeal, honey, turmeric, chamomile and plain yogurt, which all have soothing effects. She’ll also apply a cool green or chamomile tea bag over an inflamed area. “It works wonders,” she says.
WHEN TO SEE AN EXPERT
If the redness persists for one to two weeks, is concentrated around the cheeks and nose and includes other symptoms like broken capillaries and acne-like bumps, you may have rosacea, and Shah recommends visiting your dermatologist.
While not curable, Dr. Shah says that treatments, like topical medication and laser therapy, can be more effective if you catch it early.
You can finally start to get yourself on the path to stop asking yourself, “Why is my face red all the time?” Simply start making some lifestyle changes and start using the recommended products above. If the redness persists, it’s time to see a derm.
+ What are your best tips for combatting redness? Share them below!
Sorry for the intense headline, but it’s time to talk about the importance of sunscreen. We receive too many inquiries asking, “Is sunscreen bad for you?” and “Do I always have to wear sunscreen?” that it’s time for us to break down deeply why and when you should be wearing sunscreen.
So here’s the deal: You know how you love indulging in hydrating essences, luxurious oil cleansers, and eye creams? You’re kind of wasting your money on all of those products if you don’t wear sunscreen every single day. Sure, I’m being a bit dramatic, but it’s kind of true. Just think about it. Every second you spend outside in the presence of the sun without sun protection is exposing your skin to the sun’s damaging rays.
What do the sun’s rays do? Glad you asked! UV rays from the sun can cause premature wrinkles and pigmentation. Even more importantly, not wearing sunscreen increases your changes of developing skin cancer, which is no joke. When you skip out on sunscreen, you increase your chance of developing skin cancer by 50 percent. So, it’s safe to say that sunscreen is the best and most important anti-aging skin care product out there.
And it’s also safe to say that if you consistently don’t wear sunscreen, then your other anti-aging products are just working to try and correct skin damage instead of preventing it, and wouldn’t you rather have your expensive products work on preventing any fine lines from showing up than trying to erase the wrinkles and dark spots you developed from being out in the sun?
If you wear sunscreen every day, you’ll get to use your skin care for what it’s truly for: keeping your skin healthy and fortifying it with ingredients that help remedy skin issues that aren’t caused by something you can prevent on your own, like acne, heredity hyperpigmentation, and dark circles.
So now that my main point is out of the way, I’d like to discuss some points about sunscreen that you absolutely need to keep in mind (some are myths and some are just things you need to remember to make sure your sunscreen usage is 100 percent effective). I’ve enlisted the help of Merry Thornton, a PA at Schweiger Dermatology in New York City.
You need to wear sunscreen more often than you think—even when it’s raining
“UV rays, which are responsible for skin cancer and aging, are present rain or shine,” says Thornton. “The sun is out respective of temperature, and clouds do not block these harmful rays. Make it a habit to apply sunscreen year-round.”
And yes, you even need to wear it at the gym (if it has windows)
One of the biggest things people forget is that you need to wear sunscreen at the gym, especially if it has windows, which many do! I think about this a lot. I often go to my gym in the morning right as the sun is rising. There’s a window right in front of my favorite treadmill and as I’m sweating away, I actually feel the sun on my skin and it gets so strong that it blinds my face. UV rays penetrate through windows! Protect your skin from them when you’re in your sweat session.
Even if you have a tan, you still need to wear SPF
“There are two things wrong with thinking you don’t need sunscreen if you have a tan,” says Thornton. “First, there is no such thing as a safe tan! A tan is your body’s response to damage from UV rays. Secondly, a tan provides minimal SPF, offering very little protection from the sun.”
Stop thinking that all sunscreens will break you out
OK, this is a valid argument. I agree that in the short term, I would rather forgo sun protection than walk around with a bunch of pimples. But there are many sunscreen formulations and a lot of them won’t break you out! I can almost promise you this. For example, the Acwell Aqua Capsule Sun Control Gel SPF35 is super light and comes in a gel formulation, so it’s not heavy at all. It was made for oily skin.
Also, stop believing that the chemicals in sunscreen will give you cancer
This is what people are probably trying to answer when they Google “Is sunscreen bad for you?”
Here’s the truth: “When people ask if there is a link between sunscreen and cancer, they are usually referring to literature they have read regarding a chemical in some sunscreens called oxybenzone,” says Thornton. “When used at normal doses, there are no studies, to my knowledge, that show that sunscreen causes cancer. On the other hand, we do know that UV rays are a known carcinogen. If chemicals are a concern to you, use a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which effectively block UVA and UVB rays.”
And it’s time to end the myth that darker skin tones don’t need to wear sunscreen as much
Repeat after me: UV rays do not discriminate. “Not only are all skin types at risk for skin cancer, but the sun can also cause premature aging in the form of wrinkles, sagging, melasma, and sun spots on all skin types,” says Thornton. “While skin cancer is more common in older Caucasians, patients with skin of color are not immune. In fact, skin cancer in patients with skin of color is often diagnosed in later stages when it is harder to treat.”
Yes, the sun gives you vitamin D, but wearing sunscreen won’t make you vitamin D deficient
“We get vitamin D from food and sun. Dietary sources such as fortified milk and orange juice as well as supplements can provide substantial amounts of vitamin D,” says Thornton. “The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend getting vitamin D from sun exposure, as the negative effects of UV rays outweigh the benefits.”
Please, please wear sunscreen all the time! There’s a lot of them out there aren’t going to make you feel like a huge greaseball. In fact, so many Korean sunscreens just feel like moisturizers fortified with sun-blocking powers. My favorite? The Neogen Day-Light Protection Sun Screen SPF 50. I have really dry skin and this actually works to plump up my skin in the morning and the blueberry extract works to brighten my skin and make me look more awake.
Oh, and two more things! Don’t forget to re-apply every two to three hours! You can do this with a cushion compact that contains SPF 30 or higher, or with a tone up cushion, like this awesome Klavuu City Defense Tone – Change Cushion SPF50 (it’s simply a cushion compact that applies sunscreen over makeup). And keep in mind that sunscreens do expire. Check the date on your sunscreen and make sure to toss it out after that date has passed (hopefully you’ll never have to do that since you’ll be wearing sunscreen all the time, hehe).
Protect your skin this summer—it’s going to be a hot and fun one!
+ Want a sunscreen recommendation? Let me know your skin type and concerns and the comments and I’ll shoot a recommendation over to you!
What causes dark circles around the eyes? It turns out there are multiple reasons. Here, we outline all the things that cause dark circles and how to treat them.
“Wow, you look tired.” That’s the number one phrase you hear when you’ve skipped on sleep or you happened to forego makeup for the day. It’s irritating, to say the least, and can make you a bit self-conscious of your dark circles. But, the reality is that they’re completely normal. So, there’s no reason to be embarrassed. But this doesn’t mean you don’t want to reduce their appearance from time to time. The best way to do that is to understand the cause for your dark circles in the first place.
But what causes dark circles around the eyes? Eye issues appear in three major forms: dark circles, fine lines, and eye bags and puffiness. So, this means dealing with eye issues is a lot more complex than it’s made out to be. There is no miracle cream or serum you can apply that will rid of them in an instant. But having a dedicated eye routine can help to reduce the appearance of these issues. Here, we’ve broken down the main causes of dark circles and how to combat them.
Lack of Sleep
If you’ve skipped a few nights of sleep, you’re likely to notice that your dark circles have become more pronounced. We know that the eye area has much thinner skin than the rest of our face but when we skip sleeping this reality sinks in. Lack of sleep causes the blood vessels under your eyes to swell. This swelling creates a darkness under your eyes. As a result, your dark circles become more apparent and your already delicate eye area can appear dull, dark, and tired.
Over time, these temporary circles will fade once you’ve caught up on sleep. But, besides catching up on some Z’s and having a healthy diet, you’ll want to nourish your stressed out eyes. The Skinfood Royal Honey Eye Cream is a good choice. It’s packed with royal jelly and honey extracts that intensely moisturize the eye area. When applied, this eye cream also has a cooling sensation that will soothe and de-puff.
Another option to soothe your eyes is a warming eye mask. The A’PIEU Steam Eye Masks are a personal favorite of mine. This isn’t a product you apply but actually a mask that heats up to calm your delicate eye area. Hook the mask behind your ears and close your eyes for 20 minutes of relaxation. You won’t regret it!
We know you don’t want to hear this, but sometimes genetics are the cause of dark circles. And this is the case for many people. Womp womp. If you’ve had dark circles since you were little, it’s likely it’s hereditary. When most people think about dark circles, they usually believe it’s a result of pigment, but in most cases, it isn’t. For genetic dark circles, it’s actually caused by an overproduction of melanin. This overproduction then results in a dark appearance under the eyes. It can occur in any skin tone but it shows up more often in darker skin tones.
To combat this, you’ll want to invest in a brightening eye cream. The Hanskin Bio Origin the Eye Cream is a luxurious cream that imparts deep hydration and combats pigmentation as well. This is thanks to the addition of niacinamide in the formula. Niacinamide, a powerful brightening ingredient, works by slowing down the transfer of melanin to your skin cells. As a result, it prevents the buildup of pigmentation. Adding this eye cream to your routine will fight the cause of dark circles and keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
As we age, it’s like our dark circles become even more obvious than they were before. The area around our eyes is thinner and much more delicate than our face. This plays a role in how apparent our dark circles are. Unfortunately, as we age this already thin skin becomes even thinner, as a result of our body losing collagen and subcutaneous fat. The fat by our eyes keeps them looking youthful and without it, they can appear sunken in. Plus, this makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable as well.
The best way to keep this at bay is by pumping that area with hydration. The ENature Callus Phyto-regen Eye Serum contains nourishing ingredients that intensely hydrate and brighten the skin. Edelweiss flower extract improves skin elasticity while Adenium flower extract and hyaluronic acid plump the skin with moisture. These ingredients work together to smooth fine lines and bring life back to your tired eyes.
Salty food & Allergies
It’s like gravity is out to get us. Besides having to deal with dark circles and fine lines, we also have puffiness to avoid. There are many reasons why your eyes are looking extra puffy in the morning. It could be a result of allergies that are irritating your eyes. It could also be fluid retention from indulging in way too many salty foods the night before. Another reason is a natural part of the aging process, in which the loss of fat leads to sagging under the eyes.
Chronic eye puffiness and eye bags are hassles to deal with. To treat the puffiness, you have to find out what’s causing it in the first place. Once you’ve figured that out, you can effectively treat it. If you’re indulging in salty foods, you may want to try to stick to a healthier diet. Plus, drink tons of water to make sure you’re hydrated. As for allergies, the best way to treat this is by speaking to your doctor. They can suggest the proper ways to combat these symptoms. Once you alleviate that irritation, the puffiness should calm down.
When it comes to eye bags/puffiness as a natural part of aging, it’s much more complicated to treat. The one thing you can do is keep your eye area as moisturized as possible. This will help slow down the signs of aging. The Missha Misa Geum Sul Vitalizing Eye Cream is formulated with ginseng water, wild ginseng extract, deer antler extract, and reishi mushroom extract. These powerful herbal ingredients work together to nourish and fight signs of aging.
You can also immediately soothe puffiness with the Botanic Farm Salmon Hydrogel Eye Patches. These eye masks are made with a cooling hydrogel that soothes your eyes upon application. They’re packed with ingredients like snail secretion filtrate to repair and salmon egg extract to combat darkness and puffiness. There’s also aloe in the formula to further calm tired eyes and reduce the appearance of your eye bags. Pop these on for 20 to 30 minutes for a quick eye treatment that will revitalize your delicate eye area.
Like any other part of your skin care routine, the eyes are just as complicated. To combat your eye issues, it’s important to find the cause of them in the first place. Once you do that, you can effectively treat the underlying issues and wake up those tired eyes!
+ What kind of dark circles do you deal with and what’s your trick to treating them? Let us know in the comments below!
Have you heard about the Banila Co oil cleanser new formula? It’s pretty impressive, and we’re here to break it down.
The Banila Co Clean It Zero Original is a true classic K-beauty product. This is often the first oil cleanser K-beauty newbies pick up, and it’s often the first product that gets people hooked on Korean skin care.
Why? Because it’s super simple yet effective. The sherbert-like cleanser easily melts off all kind of stubborn makeup (even waterproof eye makeup!) and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated after washing off. Infused with vitamin C and A-rich acerola extract, papaya extract to naturally exfoliate, rooibos leaf extract to sooth, and bamboo extract to moisturize, this oil cleanser is simple yet nourishing, and it gets the job done.
While the Banila Co Clean It Zero is beloved, the original formula had some controversial ingredients, particularly mineral oil and artificial coloring. Now, the formula has been changed to make it a more “natural” product, including changing the scent and the color. Even more, the packaging is completely revamped. It’s super shelfie-worthy:
And there’s more! The texture has been improved. The previous texture was a bit lumpy and had a super high melting point (some people were complaining that their Banila oil cleanser would melt in high summer heat). Now, it has a much higher melting point and is much smoother:
To help you understand all the great changes that have been made to the Banila Co Clean It Zero Original, we created a handy chart outlining what each ingredient was replaced with and what that new ingredient does, as well as a side-by-side look at the old texture compared to the new texture:
Here’s a quick summary of the ingredient changes: Mineral oil, which is controversial to some people, has been replaced with ester oil, a commonly used emollient that’s been deemed safe, and works especially well on dry skin. BHT has been replaced with vitamin E acetate, also known as tocopherol, which is a skin-friendly ingredient that really just means it’s a mix of acetic acid and vitamin E. It’s often used as an emollient in skin care and works to offer antioxidant properties to the skin. Butyl Parahydroxybenzoate has been replaced with phenoxyethanol, a safe natural preservative that’s a derivative of green tea. This gives the cleanser a light rose scent.
Additionally, the new color of the oil cleanser is a bit lighter and is made from the dried roots of the purple gromwell plant. When it comes to texture, the cleanser has been altered to remove those weird lumps that would sometimes show up, allowing for a smoother and silkier experience.
We all love GlamGlow for its fun masks, but one day you may be looking for a GlamGlow SuperMud dupe that’s more affordable. K-beauty comes to the rescue!
There’s nothing more relaxing than settling down for a Netflix binge with a freshly applied mask. But it isn’t so relaxing when those masks are breaking the bank. GlamGlow is known for its “skintertainment” masks that range from pretty pink to glitter galore. They make great selfies and make skin care just a little more fun.
We love a little “skintertainment,” but sometimes we can’t afford spending that much on a glitter mask. So, here are our best K-beauty dupes for popular GlamGlow products.
The new GlamGlow Instamud treatment goes from clay to micro-bubbling treatment in seconds. It’s meant to refine the skin and deep clean pores. Guess what? The Neogen Canadian Pore Clay Cleanser does exactly that for a fraction of the price. This cleanser is formulated with a blend of carbonated water, kaolin clay, and centella asiatica extract. These ingredients dive deep into the pores and get rid of excess sebum, dirt, and debris.
The foaming action helps the product seep into hard-to-reach areas, like your nose. If you have oily or combination skin, this product is perfect for you. It will help balance the skin by eliminating excess sebum. It will also help draw out impurities from the surface and the inside of your pores. Your skin will be left feeling cleansed and exfoliated.
The GlamGlow Gravitymud mask is “skintertainment” at its finest. The pearlescent glow is fun to apply and even more fun to photograph. It’s meant to soften and firm the skin for a toned and contoured look. The Klavuu Special Care Pearl Glow Mask provides the same experience but it’s a better bang for your buck. This mask is equally as fun to apply and the combination of kaolin and bentonite clay clarifies the skin. The clay helps to draw out impurities and reduce the appearance of large pores.
Your skin will feel nourished, thanks to the addition of argan oil and algae extract. Meanwhile, panthenol, squalane, sodium hyaluronate, and ceramide impart deep hydration. Unlike the GlamGlow mask, this one isn’t a peel-off, so you’ll avoid any irritation.
One of the biggest seaches is “GlamGlow Supermud dupe,” and we get it, because this GlamGlow is a straight up classic that works. If you want to deep clean the skin, the GlamGlow Supermud will do just that. The combination of kaolin clay and charcoal draws out impurities leaving your skin softer, smoother and free of excess oil. But $79 for a face mask can be a bit much.
The Goodal Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay provides the same dirt-removing action for only $25. This mask uses kaolin and Canadian colloidal clay to remove excess oil and deep clean pores. This is a great treatment for oilier skin types or for anyone who is dealing with congested skin. Plus, this mask has a cooling effect that calms any inflammation or irritation.
The GlamGlow Flashmud mask uses bits of white birch leaf to exfoliate, rejuvenate and brighten the skin. The RE:P Bio Fresh With Real Nutrition Herb does pretty much the same except with fresh herbs. They both contain rosemary leaf extract to strengthen and hydrate the skin, as well as rose to deeply nourish and calm.
These ingredients work in tandem to revive dull, tired skin and leave it refreshed. Both masks also firm, brighten, and improve elasticity. As you can tell from the ingredients, these masks are on par with each other, but the RE:P one is much more affordable. Which one would you choose?
The Thank You Farmer Back To Relax Cooling Gel Mask isn’t an exact dupe of the GlamGlow Thirstymud since it doesn’t contain any clay. But, if you’re looking for a hydrating and calming mask, then this one is it. Both the GlamGlow Thirstymud and the Thank You Farmer mask work to intensely moisturize and soothe the skin. The Thank You Farmer mask comes in a cooling, gel-like texture that doubles as a mask and a sleeping pack. It’s formulated with pomegranate extract, which has high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C prevents cell damage, brightens the skin and speeds up the recovery process.
The Thank You Farmer mask also contains cica, fig, licorice and aloe vera leaf juice extract. These ingredients help to soothe and moisturize the skin. They also work together to reduce redness and calm reactive skin. The mask also contains soluble collagen and sodium hyaluronate. They both impart deep hydration so your skin is left relaxed and nourished. When it comes down to it, both masks have the same purpose but at different price points.
GlamGlow makes some pretty amazing masks, with awesome ingredients and factors that make masking super fun, but if you’re looking for some “skintertainment” at a more affordable price, K-beauty is here for you.
+ What other K-beauty dupes would you like to see? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get to work!
How do you find anti-aging products for oily skin? It can be a real challenge, given that so many anti-aging products tend to be on the heavier side and can actually end up clogging oily skin before offering the anti-aging benefits. Read on to find out how to refine your search.
So you have oily skin. Everything was fine in your teens and early 20s when your main focus when it came to skin care products was anything that would keep your sebum production in control and keep acne at bay. But then your late 20s or 30s hit and suddenly you’re craving something more.
Afraid to veer into the whole anti-aging skin care product territory (remember that one time you took a gamble on an anti-aging cream and your pores were clogged for weeks?), you’ve settled on the fact that there’s just not a skin care product out there that’s going to offer you the intense benefits that all those heavy anti-aging products do yet still be light enough to not clog your pores and kick your sebum production into overdrive.
It’s time to change your mind! When it comes to finding anti-aging products that will work on oily skin, the key is paying attention to the type of product you choose and the ingredients that are in that product. Let me explain…
Pay attention the type of product you choose:
When looking for an anti-aging product, you’ll generally want to stay away from creams and emulsions if you have super oily skin. Most creams that are billed as anti-aging are super heavy and full of a lot of occlusives and jam-packed with a lot of hydrating properties. You don’t need additional hydration; you need an adequately hydrating product that has other ingredients that directly address wrinkles, sagging, brightness, and puffiness.
So on that note, you’ll want to steer towards products that have a lighter consistency, like cleansers and toners. “Oily and combination skin are best treated with ingredients that will remove excess oils without stripping the skin,” says Monique Olivares, a PA at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. “Gentle washes with hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid and/or salicylic acid can achieve a healthy level of degreasing without causing excess dryness and inflammation. In addition, they provide an excellent anti-aging benefit.”
Cleansers are good choice, but those wash off. If you’re looking for a product that stays on and infuses skin with nutrients, seek a powerhouse toner. Korean toners are unlike their American counterparts. They go way beyond just offering an extra cleansing step in your routine. Not only do they work to deep clean pores and erase any extra impurities on your skin, they’re often packed with skin-benefitting ingredients to address certain skin concerns. You could kind of say that Korean toners are a fusion of toners and serums in one. Which brings me to my next point…
Pay attention the ingredients in your toner:
There are two things to look for in an anti-aging toner for oily skin: A formula that balances your skin and controls sebum production and a formula that is packed with light ingredients that target specific issues. “Toners can be especially helpful after cleansing of the skin by balancing the natural skin pH and removing additional impurities,” says Olivares. “A great anti-aging toner will address most causes of skin aging such as free radicals, inflammation, and hydration as well as provide nutrients.” She recommends looking for toners that feature hyaluronic acid and vitamins.
This toner is super lightweight (it feels like patting water into your skin) and features two superior anti-aging ingredients: pearl extract and Italian white truffle. Pearl extract is an ingredient heralded in the Korean skin care community for its amazing brightening properties. It works to even out skin tone and lift any signs of redness or pigmentation. The other main ingredient, Italian white truffle extract, is a coveted ingredient that works to help speed up cell regeneration, shedding dead skin cells faster, lifting wrinkles and revealing fresh skin.
Don’t worry about these ingredients clogging your pores; this toner was formulated with a blend of BHAs to lightly exfoliate skin and control sebum production. So, you’ll get blackhead treatment and wrinkle and pigmentation all in one little toner!
This is one of those do-it-all toners that works beautifully for oily skin. Packed with salicylic acid, this toner goes to work on excess sebum, leaving skin with less acne and less shiny. Even more, one of the main ingredients is aloe vera extract, which works to soothe skin and decrease puffiness and redness.
Snail mucin is another featured ingredient, which is one of the best secrets for plump, clear, and glowing skin. Snail mucin contains an impressive blend of amino acids that actually help the skin rebuild itself, lifting the appearance of acne scars and sun spots, while strengthening the skin’s barrier, allowing it look plumper and more supple.
This toner is for all of you out there with oily skin who cringe at the thought of applying more layers of product on your already-congested skin. Since this toner comes in a spray form, all you have to do is spritz a light mist over your skin and boom, you’re good to go.
But don’t forget about the ingredients! You will fall in love with this toner if you’re looking to lift fine lines. First up, there’s 10 percent Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, an ingredient prized for its ability to smooth out skin texture and even out tone. Then there’s a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid, more particularly sodium hyaluronate, which is a more potent version of hyaluronic acid that goes deeper into pores infusing them with moisture and plumping up skin.
Don’t be afraid of the moisture hyaluronic acid offers; it offers a different type of hydration compared to the heavy occlusives and butters that are in products for dry skin. It’s a lightweight ingredient that actually targets dehydrated skin, which is actually super different from dry skin, and something that oily and combination skin can definitely have. Long story short: hyaluronic acid offers hydration to skin (something that all skin needs, regardless of type) and products for dry skin offers moisture to skin through oils and butters.
Don’t give up on your dreams of younger-looking skin if you have oily skin and also are starting to see some fine lines. There is a happy compromise! You just have to seek out the right type of product (lightweight toners or serums) with the right ingredients (actives and vitamin-enriched nutrients instead of occlusives).
+ Got questions on the best anti-aging products for oily skin? I’d love to answer! Share them in the comments below!
It’s time to go over the difference between chemical and physical exfoliators, and discover which one is better for your skin!
It’s the age old skin care question: What kind of exfoliator should I use? Is there one that’s better than the other? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer that can work for everyone’s skin types and skin concerns, so we’re laying down some questions you should be asking yourself the next time you’re buying your next exfoliator.
But first… what is physical exfoliation?
Physical exfoliation is probably what you think of when you think of exfoliating. You make use of small grains or a brush, or some other type of non-smooth surface to brush away dead skin cells that may be clogging pores.
If you’re deep into the skin care world, you probably already know that a lot of your run-of-the-mill drugstore exfoliators are likely too harsh on the skin, and probably aren’t great for the planet either. Exfoliators (and other household products like toothpaste) that have little plastic microbeads cause huge amounts of garbage for the environment, not to mention that plastic soaks up toxins and can harm the animals in areas where we dump garbage, because these tiny beads are a little too small to be filtered out at sewage plants.
You’re also not in the clear by avoiding these plastic beads. Large exfoliants like fruit pits and nut shells are often found in drugstore exfoliators. These exfoliants are just a little too big and harsh and can have a tendency to cause micro-tears in the skin.
Don’t get me wrong, physical exfoliation isn’t bad. Gently exfoliating once to a few times a week can be just the thing to give you clear radiant skin, but you need to make sure that your exfoliating granules are effective and still gentle enough that they won’t harm your skin.
OK, so then, what is chemical exfoliation?
Chemical exfoliation is, essentially what it says: exfoliating by use of chemicals, specifically chemicals that speed up cell turnover. Plus, they’re great if you’re looking for that trademark healthy skin glow.
Not all chemicals are created equally (obviously). And there are definitely some that shouldn’t be anywhere near your skin. Look for AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). AHAs are water soluble, so they don’t really get into your pores to clean them out, but what they are able to do is break down big chunks of dead skin cells to give you smoother skin. BHAs are oil-soluble, meaning they get down into those pores and clean them out. They’re also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and especially great if you have blackheads.
You can also use other chemicals like fruit enzymes, which tend to be more gentle on the skin, or PHAs (polyhydroxy acids), a super popular ingredient in Korea, that’s meant to be as effective as AHAs and BHAs, but less irritating.
But I still don’t know what I should be using…
No skin care is perfect for literally everyone, so here are some questions you should be asking yourself when choosing your exfoliators:
Question 1: Is my skin sensitive?
Sensitive skin is by far one of the trickiest to work with, to the point where if you do have sensitive skin, it’s not uncommon to just want to skip exfoliation all together. The trick here is getting an exfoliator that doesn’t make you feel like you’re exfoliating at all. And finding ones that also have nourishing and healing ingredients to do double duty, healing your sensitive skin and brushing away any impurities.
The Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad is a godsend for sensitive skin exfoliation. Each pad is lightly threaded so that it provides super gentle exfoliation, but it’s so gentle that you won’t even feel anything. They’re soaked in cica or centella asiatica, an ingredient famed for healing inflamed skin and reducing redness to soothe and smooth your irritated skin. This essence can also help promote collagen production, and hyaluronic acid works to help build up your skin’s barrier and make it stronger, as well as hydrate. Plus, it’s free of common irritants like parabens, artificial fragrance and mineral oil. It also has a low pH to keep your skin balanced.
Question 2: Do I have active acne?
You might think having acne shouldn’t affect your exfoliating at all, but that’s not quite true. Remember, acne is an infection. It’s an open wound. Using a harsh physical exfoliator on the skin when you have active acne can spread the infection around causing more acne, and doing exactly the opposite of what your exfoliator actually should be doing.
Instead try a chemical exfoliant like the Dr. Oracle A-Thera Tea Tree Peeling Sticks. These are essentially giant cotton swabs soaked in chemical formula that you can use as spot treatment to help heal your acne. The formula has AHAs and BHAs to help clear your pores, as well as lactic acid and glycolic acid to further exfoliate and smooth out the skin. And since this is a spot treatment built for acne, it also comes with tea tree, lemon, and bamboo extracts which will continue to exfoliate without any irritation.
If you are super keen on using a physical exfoliator, try something like the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea. These single use pads are my personal favorite exfoliator because they’re super gentle on the skin, but still make you feel like you’re getting the job done, sweeping away dead skin cells and impurities. Plus, they have green tea, which is a powerful antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory that will help soothe your skin after exfoliation, and help calm those pesky zits.
What if I don’t have either of those issues?
Then you’re probably in the clear to use most exfoliators on the market. But still you should keep in mind a few things.
As with any skin care product, you should patch test prior to applying everywhere and potentially causing a massive reaction on your skin, especially when it comes to incorporating acids into your routine. Acids are active ingredients, meaning they can cause your skin to purge. Be on the lookout for signs of purging when you’re incorporating chemical exfoliants into your skin care routine.
Make sure that your exfoliator feels gentle on your skin. I know the temptation that comes with exfoliating. You don’t feel like you’re doing anything unless you can hear the granules crunching against one another scratching at your skin. But this isn’t what you want. Exfoliation doesn’t need to be and likely shouldn’t be a painful experience. Just because you can’t feel your exfoliator working doesn’t mean it isn’t doing its job. Plus, using a gentle exfoliant can get the job without giving you microtears and making your skin feel itchy and irritated all the time.
Find exfoliators that have ingredients that target your specific skin issues. For example, if you have problems with hyperpigmentation, maybe pick up the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon which is formulated with vitamin C. Or if you want to stop the signs of premature aging, use the Neogen Bio-Peel in Wine, which has resveratrol, an antioxidant that can help prevent wrinkles from forming.
The Bottom Line
There’s no easy answer when it comes to which exfoliator you should use. Just remember that your skin should be treated with TLC, always. Just because you’re exfoliating once or twice per week doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be gentle. And certainly you shouldn’t skip exfoliating altogether. Following these guidelines and looking at your ingredients lists can be the last hurdle to getting you the clear, radiant skin you deserve.
+ What do you think is the big difference between chemical and physical exfoliators? Let us know in the comments!
In our d’Alba Piedmont Peptide No Sebum Balancing Toner review, three women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s with combination skin and different skin concerns test the toner for a week.
When we first heard about the d’Alba Piedmont Peptide No Sebum Balancing Toner, we were beyond excited. Finally, a high quality anti-aging toner for oily and combination skin types. What makes this toner so exciting? Well, for one, there aren’t a lot of anti-aging products out there that claim to work well for oily and combination skin. This is because anti-aging products tend to be on the heavier side (think thick creams and heavy emulsions).
But d’Alba is serious about creating hard-working anti-aging products that work for all skin types. The company even has its own Research and Development Center so you know that these ingredients are top notch. This toner has a super light consistency and is packed with ingredients to both keep sebum at bay while fortifying skin to minimize the appearance of fine lines and improve hyperpigmentation. The key ingredients are white truffle sourced from Italy, which works to stimulate cell renewal and reveal bright, new skin, and pearl extract, a prized Korean ingredient for brightening skin.
To combat oil, BHAs and AHAs go to work to help eliminate blackheads and lightly exfoliate skin daily to control sebum production.
Sound interesting? Meet Shelle, Beth Ann, and Maria. Each of these women have combination skin and are looking for a product that will control their oil while also providing some solid anti-aging benefits. We reached out to them to test the toner for a week and then provide some un-biased insight on how this toner performs. Here’s what they thought.
First, tell us about your skin.
I have very sensitive, combination skin with hormonal acne, persistent blackheads on my nose, and steadily enlarging pores under my eyes and around my nose. Before I started K-beauty in November of last year, finding a good sunblock had always been impossible because of my sensitive skin, which is terrible because I live in Hawaii. I feel like my carefree, no-sunblock lifestyle has contributed a lot to the overall aging of my skin; I have a lot of patchy discoloration from a gnarly sunburn I got a couple of years ago from a day at the beach without sunblock.
What did you think of the ingredients in the d’Alba Piedmont toner?
The d’Alba Peptide No Sebum Balancing Toner is supposed to stimulate cell renewal to fade dull rough patches and dark spots. After some research, I found that the main ingredient is 44% pearl extract, which is rich in antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals. Most notably, pearl extract enhances the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants.
Other ingredients include niacinamide, tuber magnatum (white truffle) extract, adenosine, betaine salicylate, acetyl hexapeptide-8 (a muscle relaxer to fight wrinkles), and five different kinds of hyaluronic acid! Almost every ingredient is a moisturizer, or is used for brightening, firming, smoothing, or general anti-aging. One possible irritant is lavender oil, however it doesn’t bother me, so I was really excited to try the toner! It seemed like the perfect toner to address all of my skin concerns.
How did you start using the product?
The directions on the box and from the Klog team were to put the Peptide No-Sebum Balancing Toner onto a cotton pad and wipe face and neck after double cleansing. In my toner step, I usually switch between the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Toner and Son & Park Beauty Water. I really like both of these toners, so it was a big commitment for me to stop using them and to use the Peptide No-Sebum Balancing Toner for my morning and night routines.
My skin tends to break out if I use the same serum or moisturizer every day, so my skin care for the five days of testing was generally: double cleanse, Peptide No-Sebum Balancing Toner, Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence or Missha First Treatment Essence, serum, moisturizer. In the mornings, I’d put sunblock on as my last step.
How did your skin react at first?
The toner has a warm, earthy herbal fragrance, almost like a tea or broth, which was calming and made me feel like I was giving my face a hearty soup of nutrients and love. My skin tingled upon first application, but didn’t burn or get blotchy. I saw some dirt on the cotton pad after using the toner, despite having double-cleansed before toning. I assumed that this was due to the toner containing BHAs.
How is your skin now?
I was surprised and pleased to find that my sensitive skin didn’t break out despite using the toner twice a day. As I continued to use the product, I noticed that my skin was softer to the touch, smoother, and seemed to be a little brighter. I consistently wiped dirt or dead skin onto the cotton pad, even after my double cleanse, so I think that the toner definitely deep cleans and resurfaces skin.
It’s hard for me to know if a new product is making a difference in my appearance, because I see myself every day, but looking at the before and after pictures, my skin looks smoother and not as blotchy! It also seems brighter and more even toned. I feel like a week is a really short timeframe to see noticeable changes, so I am very impressed.
I would definitely continue to use this product, but only in the morning due to the BHA content. The ingredient list is really impressive and I love the changes to my skin after only five days, however I want to continue to use my Triple C Lightning Liquid or retinol cream at night.
Beth Ann, 50-years-old
First, tell us about your skin.
I don’t really have many skin problems with my combination skin type. For having just turned 50, you could say I have the “typical” aging issues. I consider my problem area my crows feet, so a little Botox for that does the trick. Other than that, I’m all about anti-aging ingredients, particularly peptides, anti-oxidants and humectants.
What did you think of the ingredients in the d’Alba toner?
One of the main ingredients is Italian white truffle, which greatly increases cell renewal, has antibacterial properties, essential fatty acids, and proteins. Being that our skin is made of protein, like collagen and elastin, this ingredient is fantastic. The peptides included are great for anti-aging because they make chains of amino acids, which then make proteins to build our skin. So you could say I was excited. However, the humectants, like hyaluronic acid, are pretty far down the ingredients list. This tells me there’s not much in the product.
How did you start using the product?
I should mention that I followed my normal skin regimen. In the morning, I use a milky cleanser, vitamin C serum, peptide moisturizer, and SPF 30. At night, I take off my make-up with a cleansing balm, then wash my face with a glycolic/salicyclic cleanser, use a peptide serum, eye serum and a sleeping mask.
How did your skin react at first?
I had no reaction when I first started using this toner, with a pH of 5.6. I used it twice a day, as directed, but noticed nothing other than what sounded like I was swiping a little bit of soap suds on my face. As pretty as the bottle is, I’m not a fan of the way you apply it to a cotton round. Just tipping the bottle over does not let out any product (though some may think that’s fine, since there’s no spillage). You literally have to shake the bottle upside down to release any product. This seemed to make more come out than I really needed. There was no control, so perhaps redesigning the bottle would help this.
After using the toner for three days and nights, I noticed my skin started peeling and flaking (just like retin A might do) on my upper lip, around my mouth and on my chin. Now this could be from the increase in cell renewal, and possible cell turnover. On the fourth day, I just used it at night and continued that way until my testing time was over. At this point the peeling and flaking subsided. I believe that this toner is very “active” and that’s what caused the change in my skin texture. Continuing on, I would only use this once a day and gradually increase, so that the skin can get used to it.. I would advise others to do the same thing.
How is your skin now?
I didn’t notice a change in my skin until the third or fourth day, when the skin around my mouth, upper lip and chin were flaky and peeling. This was after following the directions of using it in the morning and night. I felt, when looking at the ingredients, that the toner was probably very “active,” so I cut it down to using it only at night. That did the trick and the flaking and peeling stopped.
I think that I would have to build up to using it two times a day. However, when looking at these pictures, if you look at my “before” picture, there’s a slight pigmented area high on my left cheek, but if you look at the “after” picture, it’s gone, so it obviously helped get rid of that. Pretty nice!
Would I choose to buy or continue to use this toner? Yes, with a dispensing change and a gradually increase of usage. I really think anyone looking for a good toner, the D’Alba Peptide No-Sebum Balancing Toner may be for them.
I think that the ingredients are outstanding in this toner. Like I said above, it did initially change the texture of my skin, but I backed off and it went back to normal. I’m still using it, so I obviously like it. I’m just working my way up to using it twice a day, as recommended. I would definitely recommend this product to friends and clients my age.
First, tell us about your skin.
I have oily to combination skin. I also have Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation, so I also suffer from inflamed acne. I don’t breakout often due to my skin care routine, but when I do, my breakouts are very inflamed and very noticeable. I have suffered with acne all my life and try to take very good care of my skin.
What did you think of the ingredients in the d’Alba toner?
The toner has a lot of ingredients that I’m not very familiar with, but what caught my eye was the pearl extract, which was the very first ingredient listed. I’ve heard that pearl extract is suppose to be very good for brightening your skin, and I was pretty impressed that this product has this as the key ingredient. I was also impressed by the hyaluronic acid and Italian white truffle, which is suppose to be good for fading dark spots, which I have from acne scarring and aging.
How did you start using the product?
I stopped using my original toner that I’ve had for a couple and added this toner after I did my double cleanse. I used it twice a day morning and night. After I used the toner, I would use my usual serum and eye and face cream, along with my sunscreen. I didn’t add anything new to my routine besides the toner.
How did your skin react at first?
I already had a few breakouts before I started using the toner, and as instructed I used it with a cotton pad on my skin. Besides the breakouts I already had, I actually ended up having more inflamed breakouts around my T-zone and forehead. The toner has a strong scent, which is probably what caused the breakouts.
How is your skin now?
The toner did help with keeping my skin hydrated, especially where I have some dry patches on my face. I’m going to keep using it and see if my skin will keep adjusting to it!
+ Have you tried the d’Alba Piedmont Peptide No Sebum Balancing Toner? And which of our new Klog contributors do you resonate with most? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Want to know what causes hyperpigmentation? Keep reading to discover five mistakes you could be making that will cause hyperpigmentation or make existing redness worse.
There are many uncontrollable factors that can cause hyperpigmentation, from UV exposure to hormones. But there are also common mistakes that can increase your chances of developing hyperpigmentation.
We’ve compiled five of the most common skin care mistakes that cause you those dreaded acne scars and dark spots. Find out what they are and make a vow to yourself to stop doing these things immediately!
You pick at your pimples
We know we’re stating the obvious, but popping your pimples increases hyperpigmentation. This is one of those skin care rules that continues to reign supreme. Popping those whiteheads and squeezing away blackheads is a guilty pleasure that causes way more harm than good, no matter how satisfying it may be!
When you have a pimple, your body sees this as an injury and rushes to the scene to treat it, and instead of allowing your body to heal itself, many pick away at their spots instead. When you do pop your pimple, it increases inflammation. The inflammation then triggers melanin production. As a result, it can leave you with acne scars long after the inflammation has subsided.
Instead of popping your pimples, spot treat them! The Missha Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patch, along with the Dr. Oracle A-Thera Tea Tree Peeling Sticks, are both excellent spot treatments. The Missha patches contain healing salicylic acid and tea tree oil. These ingredients work together to reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process. You simply pop one of these on your pimples at night and peel away in the morning! These easy-to-use patches will not only treat your spots but protect them, as well.
The Dr. Oracle A-Thera Tea Tree Peeling Sticks are another handy spot treatment. They contain a blend of AHAs and BHAs, which are powerful acne fighting acids. These ingredients slough away dead skin cells and kill acne-causing bacteria. They are powerful but gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.
You skip sunscreen or you don’t reapply it
I know you’ve heard this time and time again, but skin care protection is vital for avoiding hyperpigmentation. Extended sun exposure actually increases inflammation. As a result, this aids in the formation of acne scars. It’s not enough to apply sunscreen and go about your day; you should re-apply throughout the day as well.
The general rule is to reapply every two hours, or sooner if you’ve been sweating. “Year-round, rain or shine, make sure you apply SPF30 or more together with your moisturizers and general skin care routine,” says dermatologist Neil Sadick. This will help to reduce your chances of hyperpigmentation and protect you from premature aging.
The Acwell one is perfect for oilier skin types. The formula is super lightweight and won’t leave a greasy finish behind. The A-Thera one is the way to go for soothing any active acne spots. It contains centella asiatica, a medicinal herb known to calm inflammation. Plus, it also contains bamboo water to gently nourish and balance the skin. The Neogen sunscreen is great for more sensitive and reactive skin types. It has a light but nourishing formula thanks to the rose and raspberry extracts. It’ll give dry skin an extra boost of hydration!
As you can see, there’s a sunscreen for every skin type so, there’s no excuse to avoid sun protection!
You exfoliate way too often
Chemical exfoliators can work wonders for keeping acne at bay. But, overusing them can actually make your acne worse. Over-exfoliating can trigger inflammation and weaken the skin’s moisture barrier function. Your skin barrier is the first line of defense against bacteria and any other pollutants. When your moisture barrier becomes damaged, it cannot adequately protect you. As a result, this can lead to increased acne and hyperpigmentation.
It’s true that exfoliating can leave you with smooth, glowing skin, but it’s actually better to resist the urge to exfoliate more. Instead, stick with the suggested two to three times a week exfoliation recommendation. This will help to keep acne at bay without irritating your skin.
You over-cleanse your skin
Using harsh cleansing products can increase skin irritation. This is because they strip the skin of its natural oils and leave it starved for moisture. When there is a lack of moisture, your body increases oil production to help lubricate the skin. The combination of harsh foaming agents and rising oil production equals acne formation.
Just like over-exfoliating, over-cleansing can also damage your skin’s moisture barrier. Common signs are an itchy feeling, sensitivity, and acne-prone skin. Inflammation is a precursor to hyperpigmentation, so it’s best to avoid anything that increases it. To avoid this, stick with gentle, low pH cleansers that don’t dry out your skin.
The Acwell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser does exactly that. It has a gentle, foam-free formula that cleanses without stripping the skin. It’s formulated with soothing ingredients, like centella, aloe, and witch hazel. Plus, the addition of salicylic acid makes it perfect for acne-prone skin. These ingredients work together to decrease inflammation and hydrate the skin.
You don’t patch test new products
The Korean ten step routine is amazing at combating issues of acne, dryness, and aging. But, adding in a ton of products all at once is not the answer. Slowly trying out new ones will help to avoid the influx of inflammation, irritation and acne. Sadick explains that “not performing a skin test when using new products can also lead to hyperpigmentation, as if you are allergic to some ingredients you can activate an inflammatory reaction that leads to melanin overproduction.”
Instead, patch test products before adding them to your routine. There are several ways you can do this. One way is by keeping your routine the same and only adding one new product at a time. Another popular method is testing products on one side of your face. These steps will help determine if any new acne sprouting up could be a result of the new addition or not. It may sound like a lot of work but it’s worth it. It can help avoid unnecessary acne and possible hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation happens, but by avoiding these common skin care mistakes, you can help reduce your chances!
+ What causes hyperpigmentation for you? Let us know in the comments below!