Layering is a Balancing Act

  • Want to know some of my Skin Care 101 RULES plus my new, spring nighttime regimen? Read on!

    Skin requires great attention in order to stay healthy. Some of its needs include nutrients from our blood, supportive fibers like collagen and elastin, and a balance of water and oil. Skin care products can target various concerns but today I would like to talk about moisture retention, specifically the layering of products to balance the skin’s barrier. The barrier in the epidermis is made up of oil and water. When there is not enough oil, especially when our oil production drops in half at night, Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL, can occur. TEWL is one of the biggest factors in a dry, dehydrated, chapped skin surface, and even more severe issues like Atopic Dermatitis (as in the article “Skin barrier dysfunction measured by transepidermal water loss at 2 days and 2 months predates and predicts atopic dermatitis at 1 year” in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology by Maeve Kelleher et al). Dryness is the easiest skin condition for Estheticians to address because it usually requires just a shift in one’s home care routine. A little more attention and the right balance of oil and water can quickly change the skin from rough, flat, and gray to smooth, supple, and bright.

    I love having conversations with my clients to problem solve their home care routine. Without giving them specific product or brand recommendations I can offer some basic rules of thumb. My number one rule in preventing dehydration in the skin’s surface is to cleanse with a creamy or oil based cleanser at night and a foaming or exfoliating cleanser in the morning. The reason for this approach is because oil based cleansers remove dirt and excess oil while leaving a protective lipid, or oil barrier. The foaming or exfoliating cleanser, on the other hand, will break down the oil-water barrier which is particularly helpful if you want your next layer (the exfoliant or serum) to penetrate deeper or if the skin is oily or acne prone. On a side note, a cleanser with a natural foaming agent (verses a chemical foaming agent like sodium lauryl sulfate) will be vital to the hydration level of the skin as highly alkaline cleansers more aggressively strip the skin of its hydration. Also, not all exfoliating cleansers are created equal so choose one with acids, enzymes, or a physical component that is best for your skin condition. In the case of a chapped, or dehydrated skin I recommend using a creamy or oil based cleanser both morning and night until the skin barrier comes back into balance. The reason we don’t cleanse twice a day with products that constantly breaks down the oil-water barrier is that it leads to dehydration. And for those of you who insist on cleansing only once per day, you only have one choice and that is a creamy or oil based cleanser!

    Now that you have a cleansing routine thatprevents dehydration in your skin’s surface, we can look at appropriate treatment and protection products. Basic care only requires basic protection, like a light sunscreen product during the day and a rich moisturizer at night in a humid, summer season. However, in winter and for someone who wants a more corrective skin care regimen (one that addresses other issues like acne, hyperpigmentation, or wrinkles) the layering of products is often needed. Serums are used primarily to deliver corrective ingredients to the skin because they are highly concentrated. They can be formulated as water based, oil based, or somewhere in between. If you look at the full spectrum of oil-rich to oil-free, you can determine your need on that spectrum and make sure you also have the ingredients in your products to provide positive change to your skin.

    The basic idea in creating an effective layering system is to first choose a corrective serum and then the right moisturizer to balance you out. In the case of a dry, winter climate someone with dry skin will likely need a lipid based serum plus a rich moisturizer. That same person in a humid summer climate can use a water based serum with a medium weight moisturizer. As spring is approaching in Michigan we now have a little more humidity in the air. It’s a transitional season where some of our rich winter products may need to be used up by applying them at night. We may be looking to lighter serums and adding a sunscreen product back in if we have neglected our UV protection. For myself, I have employed two serums and a moisturizer for my evening routine to provide the correction and barrier protection I need. First, I am using the Eminence Organics Marine Flower Peptide Serum with algae and peptides. Studies have shown this product to increase skin density by 50% in 90 days! I am turning 45 this year and with the decreasing amount of collagen with every decade, skin density is one of the aspects I am choosing to address with my home regimen and in the treatment room. I also have periodic acne breakouts so layered on top of my serum is the Facial Recovery Oil with Tea Tree, Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang. To occlude the skin from losing moisture I finish with the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment. It contains lotus and microgreens to fight environmental damage (therefore great as a lightweight daytime serum in summer) as well as spheres of jojoba.

    When we choose to invest in cosmetics many considerations need to be made. Your Esthetician is there to help you navigate. Factoring in the season, your skin condition, and individual concerns can be complicated and the application of layers of products is sometimes necessary to achieve your desired results. Layering is a balancing act that can result in the most beautiful, healthy skin!

    Date published: 21 March, 2019
    Categories Facial Care

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