Clearing Things Up
When it comes to beauty, great product and a steady hand can accomplish just about anything. Hair, eyes, lips, nails, cheekbones – just about any feature can be manipulated to optimal effect, except one.
Clear skin is the ultimate beauty bounty, and not even the best foundation can create the illusion – if the fundamentals aren’t already there.
We recently realized that, like many of our Honeys, we’ve been spending too much time and money on skincare, with nothing much to show except a growing balance of Sephora Insider Rewards. So, we decided that it was time to call in a professional to help us clear things up once and for all.
We spoke with medical esthetician Carole Burns, the owner of Skin Laser Rejuvenation in New York City, who specializes in providing skincare treatments to men and women of all ethnicities. Burns has established herself as a skincare guru to many models, stars and socialites, but she doesn’t cater exclusively to people in the business of looking beautiful. Her work has transformed the lives, and self-esteem, of many regular gals just like us Honey Bees.
In this, part one of a two-part skincare-focused series, Burns puts us back on the clear skin track by dispelling harmful beauty myths. Take note, Honeys. We sure did!
Myth: When you get a pimple, you should apply a warm compress directly to the blemish to speed up its life cycle so that it shrinks faster.
Reality: “You wouldn’t put heat on a swollen ankle, would you?” Inflammation is inflammation, whether it’s in the form of a pimple or a sprained ankle. Applying a cold compress directly to the area will help the swelling to go down. Applying heat could spread bacteria and cause the pimple to grow larger (and cause others to pop up).
Myth: You should rinse your face with hot water, to remove cleanser.
Reality: You should never use hot water on your face. It’s dehydrating and can cause both inflammation and irritation. Use “cool-to-lukewarm water” instead.
Myth: Only the very fair-skinned need to use sunscreen daily.
Reality: All skin tones need equal protection from UVA rays. Every Honey should use at least SPF 30 daily on her face and neck. We swear by Elta MD’s SPF 30+ moisturizer. It melts into the skin without leaving us “grey” like some other brands, thanks to its lack of white titanium dioxide.
Myth: You don’t need to wear sunscreen if it’s cold or cloudy outside.
Reality: UVA and UVB rays are persistent and can permeate skin – rain or shine. Slather on that sun block (at least 30 minutes before going outside, to make sure you’re properly protected) all year round!
Myth: You should use a facial scrub once a week, to reveal softer skin and slough dead cells off of the face.
Reality: Step away from the scrubs, Ladies. “Abrasive exfoliation” can potentially: distend the size of pores, increase broken blood vessels and discoloration, and break down the dermis.
To evenly exfoliate and ensure that treatments penetrate the skin, use cleansers and moisturizers that contain alpha hydroxy (on Burns’ advice, we’re using SkinCeuticals’ Cleansing Cream with great results).
Myth: A facial is a facial is a facial. The estheticians at my local day spa can administer skin treatments as good as anyone.
Reality: Skin is the largest organ, but it’s also the most delicate. Skin treatments should be administered in a clinical environment by a medical esthetician. Your usual esthetician, as talented as he or she is, may not have the credentials and certifications that will allow him or her to perform certain procedures properly. Additionally, a pristine treatment room is required to treat skin most effectively. Though your local spa may look clean, it’s likely not disinfected as rigorously as it should be.
Burns’ Skin Laser Rejuvenation center sets the clinical standard: every client receives their own sponges, chair drapes, hair protectors, and more. Burns and her team take extra care to sanitize the environment and, with only two medical estheticians on staff, visitors are guaranteed to receive personalized, consistent treatments. Any facility that does not follow similar sanitation procedures automatically increases the margin for error (or infection). Day spas are great for nails and massages, but you should leave your skin to the experts.
Myth: If I’m “melanin-rich”, non-surgical cosmetic procedures (like laser treatments) will cause discoloration or scarring.
Reality: Though once ago this was true, there have been tremendous advances in skin care technologies. Now all skin tones can benefit from treatments like laser hair removal, laser skin treatments, microdermabrasions and chemical peels*. Before undergoing any procedure, you should consult with a professional.
*These procedures will be the focus of Part Two next week – “Pores No More”.