Summer is around the corner! We can't wait to sip cocktails at the beach, splash around in salty water, travel, and soak in the sun. But while it's all great fun, summer can also wreak havoc on your skin. That's why now is a good time to make sure your skin care routine and beauty knowledge is up to standards. How? Let Spa Sophia facialist and celebrity esthetician Natarsha Bimson answer all your most common skin care questions!
1. What 5 skin care products should every woman own?
Let’s assume that we have a decent moisturizer and a gentle cleanser! My top 5 products to keep your skin healthy would be:
- Sunscreen (SPF20-30) Epicuren’s Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 is a great option.
- Washcloths, super affordable and so much better than just hands.
- Vitamin C Serum. Look for 10% to 25% in order to get results. Hylunia’s Beyond Complex C is lovely.
- A leave on AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid). 5% glycolic is usually a great starting point for getting into AHAs. I have so many of my clients hooked on Epicuren’s 5% Glycolic Peel Lotion that we have trouble keeping it on the shelf!
- Retinol (Vitamin A). For retinol you should aim for around 0.5% to 1% for best results with minimal irritation. Epicuren’s Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Cream is great because it combines glycolic acid with retinol in its formulation.
2. What skin care ingredients should be avoided?
I’m really against ingredient shaming. I think it’s just scare tactics and tends to show a lack of understanding of basic chemistry and formulating. But I would say avoid anything that you have an allergy or sensitivity to. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people ignore their skin type type in pursuit of following trends.
If you have sensitive skin, keep clear of fragranced or essential oil heavy formulations. Alcohol is the one that I try to avoid the most as well as petrochemicals (mineral oil, etc). People are usually surprised to learn that synthetic ingredients are often the most gentle and non-allergenic ingredients, but it’s true. Plant ingredients tend to be very inconsistent due to the part of the plant that's used and the time of the year that it’s harvested, so can cause a lot of problems for sensitive skin types.
3. What's the best skin care routine for the day?
The foundation to a good routine is cleansing, and I’m a huge advocate for washcloths. This is pretty much the basic regimen that I suggest to my clients:
- Cleanse: Take a clean washcloth, wet it with hot water, wring it out and drape it over your face. Let it sit for a bit so the steam can cleanse. Then gently wipe, get in to all the little nooks and crannies.
- Hydrate: Spritz your face with a hydrating mist such as Hylunia’s Colloidal Silver Mist.
- Treat: Apply a high quality Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C supports the function of your sunscreen by neutralizing the free radicals in the suns rays, preventing cellular degradation, so it is excellent for day time use. Give the serum some time to sink in before you apply moisturizer or SPF – go and have breakfast, read your emails, etc.
- Moisturize: If your Vitamin C serum is not very hydrating or nourishing you may need a separate moisturizer and for most people, the one you use in the evenings should be fine.
- Protect: Your SPF should be a separate product and I much prefer a physical one like zinc oxide to a chemical one.
4. What's the best skin care routine for the night?
At night it's all abour cleansing!
- 1st Cleanse: Use oil or an oil based cream cleanser. I love Epicuren’s Apricot Cream Cleanser. The oil will break down the oil in your sunscreen and makeup, both of which are designed to stay on your face. Then use a was cloth in the same manner that you did in the morning.
- 2nd Cleanse: I recommend non-foaming cleanser, mostly because foaming tend to strip the natural oils from your skin which it needs to function properly. If you absolutely have to use something foaming then I recommend Hylunia’s Facial Cleansing Gel as it has really gentle surfactants.
- Exfoliate: Use a leave on AHA toner or lotion every other night or if you can tolerate it, every night.
- Treat: Most people should be using a retinol serum or cream to slow down aging. These don’t have to be every night and are great to alternate with your AHA.
- Moisturize: Find a well formulated moisturizer that is the correct weight for your skin. A couple of great options are Epicuren’s Nourish Daily Antioxidant Moisturizer or Hydro Plus Moisturizer.
5. What's the best way to treat acne & breakouts?
As for over the counter acne treatments: Benzoyl Peroxide is the gold standard. It may scare a lot of people because it can cause dryness, flakiness, redness and irritation when used at the wrong percentage. When used at lower percentages like 2.5% however, it is just as effective as the stronger dosage but without the side effects.
I have had great success treating clients with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. Used in conjunction with glycolic acid as part of a good regime, most grade 1 & 2 acne clears up. I’ve even had great success treating more severe grade 3 acne with this approach. Salicylic acid is then a good ingredient for maintenance.
6: How often should you get a facial?
Generally I would recommend every 3 to 6 weeks. That being said, you are far better off having a great routine at home and getting a facial once a season than being lazy at home and getting facials every 3 weeks. What you do each day will always make a bigger impact on your skin than what I can do once a month.
I always recommend booking the Spa Sophia Signature Facial for first time clients. It’s a great facial where we chat about what products you’re using, and what your concerns and goals are. That way we get to know your skin and work with you to design an at home regimen and treatment schedule to get you there.
7. Are expensive skin care products really better than regular skin care products?
In my opinion, there are many products without adequate data supporting their efficacy. Most people are swayed by a slick marketing campaign and results from poorly designed studies. By poorly designed I mean small test groups, no control groups and no blinding. At Spa Sophia I work with Epicuren and Hylunia, which are both great lines because they are cruelty free, have specialty products that include AHAs, BHAs, Vitamins, Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, and many other active ingredients.
8. What is the best skin care routine when traveling?
Please don’t ever use soap on you face! I take everything in travel sizes with me. With many companies making travel sizes now, there’s no reason why you can’t follow your usual regimen while away from home.
One of my favorite tips for before and after long flights is to sneak in a couple of hydrating masks. Simply apply a mask such as Epicuren Hydrating Mineral Mask when you get up, go and read your emails or have some breakfast, and then wash your face as normal. You’ve snuck in 30 minutes of hydration without having to put any time aside, and your skin will thank you for it!
9. What is the best way to prevent & treat fine lines and wrinkles?
Sunscreen! Around 80% of premature aging is due to sun damage, and it’s never too late to start using a good quality, broad spectrum, physical sunscreen.
As for treatment, I particularly love Hylunia’s Intensive Repair Eye Cream. It’s packed full of peptides that help to relax the muscle in the eye area, reducing the micro-contractions that help form fine lines. Peptides also boost collagen production and inhibit the enzyme that breaks collagen down, slowing the loss. Brilliant product!
Also, AHAs help your active products penetrate better so I always recommend using AHAs to exfoliate and prep your skin. At Spa Sophia we have a number of excellent treatments that boost the effects from your home care products. The Oxygen Infusion facial is absolutely perfect if you have to look your best for an event or if your skin is dehydrated or sluggish. A unique blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamins, peptides and antioxidants is infused deep into the dermal layer resulting in instant firming, plumping and lifting. It’s one of Hollywood’s secret weapons!!
Want to book a facial with Natarsha or one of Spa Sophia's other expert estheticians? Book one online now, email us or call (310) 564 6676.