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There are still a lot of people who don’t know how to perform proper skin care at home, and until I went to esthetic school I was one of them. I knew in what order the products I had needed to be applied, but I didn’t know why. I was simply following the instructions I was given. But, in the words of Maya Angelou, “when you know better, you do better.” So I do better now, and I’d like to share my knowledge.

Your skin care routine at home can be very simple or a little more involved. It just depends on what your desired outcome is and how much effort you’re willing to put in. The bare bones of it are cleanse and moisturize twice a day to keep your skin happy. But let’s get a little more involved and talk about some of the products you might be using or wondering about.

The first step is cleansing. This actually consists of more than 1 product: cleanser, exfoliant/scrub, and mask(s). These are your wash-off products. They remove the oil, dirt, debris, and dead skin that keep the good stuff in your skin care from absorbing. So cleanse. Wash, rinse, and repeat, if necessary. Then exfoliant/scrub. This will help remove dead skin and any other debris so the mask has a better opportunity to do its job. Mask(s). Masks are great for many things, and your skin type and condition will determine which kind(s) of masks you use. Here’s the catch: You will NOT exfoliate or mask every day. Once again, depending on your skin’s needs this will probably be something you do not more than once a week. Consult your esthetician for clarification on your specific skin’s needs.

The next step is toner and serums. Toners are not astringents. These two products are very different. Toners are light, help the skin find its normal pH after cleansing, and act as a skin-penetration enhancer for the products that follow this step. Astringents, which are typically alcohol-based, are best for oily and problematic skin as they help remove any leftover products from the cleansing step and help dry up any excess oil before the following steps. As before, consult your esthetician to find the best products for you.

Serums are a powerhouse product. They contain many different active ingredients to help firm and plump the skin, decrease fine lines, provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and give a boost of hydration. There are serums for the face as well as for the delicate and under-hydrated eye area.

The final step is moisturizing. This is an important step no matter what kind of skin you have. It is a common misconception that people who have oily skin don’t need moisturizers because it would just cause their skin to be even greasier. What the common problem actually is for oily skin is a lack of moisture. When the moisturizer step is skipped, the skin naturally creates more of its own as a protective measure. But when the skin gets what it needs in terms of moisture its natural production will decrease, thus helping to decrease breakouts. However, the type of moisturizer your skin needs is based of your skin type and condition. Please consult your esthetician for products specific to your skin’s needs.

The last thing to remember in your skin care routine, is always use an SPF during the day. Even if you’re just taking a walk around the block, suncare is important.

The steps listed above are the order in which your skin care should be used. This will optimize your skin’s ability to absorb each product without interference from the one before. Of course, this is also a pretty extensive check-list. If you can cleanse, tone, and moisturize twice a day with a once a week scrub, you have no idea how much you can transform your skin. As always, your skin type and any conditions should be taken into consideration when choosing products to best optimize your results. Consult your esthetician with any questions or concerns you may have.

Have a beautiful day!!

Amber Dehn, MMT, BCTMB, LE, CA

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