3/12/2007

Naturally Beautiful for Spring...Youth pt. 1 of 3

Spring is all about bare-looking skin with healthy color. For some of us, this can be a challenging. Because of oily skin and the side effects of over-active oil glands, like breakouts and shiny oil slicks and the resulting cake-y makeup, we tend to over compensate by using harsh cleansers, alcohol-laden toners and ultra-drying treatments that contain skin-damaging ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. Well, it’s time to stop the insanity!

Achieving that easy, natural-looking bare-skinned look is not as hard as it may seem. An absolute ‘must’ is starting with balanced, healthy skin. The first step is to cleanse your skin with a gentle, no-nonsense, oil-free cleanser. Next, exfoliate…gently. And the best way to achieve gentle exfoliation is to stay away from physical exfoliants. As much fun as ‘microdermabrasion’ and scrubs sound, for skin with overactive sebaceous glands, these scrubs are too harsh and often contain oily bases that counteract any benefits you might gain. The secret to gentle exfoliation is to use a skin treatment or toner containing no more than 5% salicylic acid (and NO alcohol). As counterintuitive as it may seem, using an ‘acid’ with a scary name like salicylic actually ‘punches up’ the cleaning power of your cleanser (salicylic acid specializes in cleaning inside your pores, and it’s the only one proven to do this!) while enhancing the effectiveness of the next step: moisturizer.

Many people with oily skin do not use a moisturizer because they mistakenly think it will cause more breakouts. But in actuality, the right moisturizer will balance your skin and keep breakouts under control. The trick is choosing the right one. Choose an oil-free, lightly textured moisturizer. Try one made with glycerin, aloe or hyaluronic acid (a special ‘acid’ that holds 100 times its weight in water). Important: it is imperative that you protect your skin, so please, please, please if you take one thing from this article, make sure to choose a moisturizer containing sun protection with at least SPF 15. For best results, let your moisturizer ‘set’ for about 10 minutes (time to do your hair and brush your teeth!) before you apply your makeup. This ‘set time’ is one of the secrets to natural, healthy-looking skin, so don’t skip it.

Next comes the fun part….makeup!