Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

Skin Care Tips: March 2010 Archives

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What do I need?

Today, the amount of skin products available is overwhelming.  Even as an aesthetician, when I go into the drugstore and happen to walk through that aisle, I'm astounded.  So, how do you make the right choices and what's really necessary?

The Choices:

More and more, I'm choosing natural over chemical.  Check the label.  A good rule of thumb is this:  if the ingredient list is more than an inch long and contains words you can't even pronounce, you probably don't need it.  Especially if your skin is sensitive or you have allergies. 

In general, the types of skincare available fall into these categories:

Traditional products contain fragrance, dye, chemical additives, and preservatives. 

Botanical lines that are plant based.

Treatment lines, which are specifically geared towards skin issues like acne, aging or rosacea.

Natural lines, which contain no "chemical" preservatives or additives, chemical fragrances, added dyes or fillers.  (And please check the label, since just saying something is natural doesn't guarantee it.)

And, lastly, organic product which takes natural a step further by only using ingredients that have been grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, etc.  (Again, please make sure all ingredients are organic as labeling can be confusing.)

Now, there are two other distinctions in product:  over the counter and professional. 

Over the counter is product you can buy at the drugstore, supermarket, department or specialty store; whereas professional product is purchased through an aesthetician, spa, or doctor's office.

The benefit of using a professional product is that you are choosing something that has already been chosen by someone who knows their stuff, has the knowledge to check out the ingredients and their efficacy.  In my case, I take it a step further and actually use products first before selling them.  That way, I know what they feel like and how they work.  This way, I'm the guinea pig -- not you..

Now, I'd like to point out that just because product is professional doesn't mean that it's going to be more expensive than what you find at the supermarket or the drugstore.  This is a total misconception.  There are professional products that are inexpensive and ones that are very expensive, just the same as over the counter products.  Sometimes, clients are surprised at the affordability of products that I offer -- even those that are organic.

Okay, so now you know what kinds of products are out there in the general sense, so we'll move on! 

The Parameters: 

It's important to know your skin type -- which is best assessed by a professional aesthetician.  I say this from experience, since I find that many of us are not really familiar with or educated about the definition of a skin type nor what that skin type requires.  You see, when an aesthetician tells you your skin type, she'll also recommend what will work best for your skin type. 

For example:  clients often tell me that they have unusually large pores (when they don't) and they don't know what to do about it.  Or, people who have oily skin will want to use a scrub, which could tend to excite their oil glands to produce more oil.  I cannot emphasize more how important it is to use the right product for your skin.  When you do, it's amazing how well your skin will respond.  Afterall, your skin is as smart as you are!

With the knowledge of your correct skin type in hand, now we can talk about basic necessities. 

The Basics -- Cleanse, Tone, Nourish, Moisturize:

A good cleanser:  Skin type appropriate.  If you're sensitive, then the less ingredients, the better.

An effective serum:  This goes under the moisturizer and works as an ongoing treatment adding vitamins, hydration, oil control; specifically targetting those areas you want to work on. 

A day moisturizer:  Something that works well with your foundation -- if you wear it.  This may or may not contain sunscreen.

Sunscreen.

Night moisturizer:  For those of us who have mature or dry skin, a night time moisturizer may be heavier and more moisturizing than a day cream.

Viola!  And that's it!  The basics! 

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...


Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Whether the goal is to lessen pain, find an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or improve your quality of life, Dr. LoBisco's Naturopathic Medicine lets you get the best of both worlds conventional medicine, combined with safe and proven complementary therapies.

Dr. Sarah LoBisco has been involved in wellness for over 8 years. Her experience includes mentoring with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Read more...