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Beauty Discovered – Exfoliation

The point of exfoliation is to remove dead skin cells from the treated area, and this helps to give skin a fresher, healthier appearance.  Exfoliation can be done using products such as micro-beads found in facial scrubs, sugar (often found in DIY recipes), or even something like a loofah (they even make loofahs strictly for the face).  Typically, these types of products are found at your local drugstore or cosmetic counter.  There are stronger exfoliants that are scrubs containing sailcylic acid, glycolic acid, etc., and these are usually found in lower concentrations for products you can readily get, but often available in higher dosages by dermatologists.


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Beauty Discovered – Cold Cream

Cold cream
This type of cream was designed to help remove makeup and its buildup while giving skin a smooth appearance.  Typical ingredients found in cold creams include mineral oil, borax, emulsion of water, etc.  Many cold creams are known to be incredibly rich, thick, and ultra-hydrating.  Despite their richness, cold creams that are hypoallergenic and do not clog pores are available.  This kind of cream is often recommended for those who are prone to drier skin, because it is such a heavy and moisturizing cream.

Beauty Discovered – Supplements For Skincare

Supplements For Skincare
If you are looking for a healthy, alternative way to help increase your skin’s appearance, you can choose from several vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.  It is important that you consider your dietary concerns and routine so you do not get “too much” of a good thing.  It is always advisable to consult your physician when embarking on a rapidly different dietery routine, including the addition of supplements.  This article is meant to be informative only, not prescriptive.

Note:  This article was written with help from both my father (who has been taking supplements since age 12, honest, like a fistful!), my limited science undergrad education, and WebMd.  By the way, my father is 52, and he doesn’t look a day over 30, so maybe he caught onto the whole “vitamins are good for you” trend forty years ago.

Vitamin A is the main component a host of anti-aging products available today, because it is supposed to reduce wrinkles and renew the skin’s collagen production.  A recommended daily dosage of Vitamin E is 400 mg, and it can reduce damage done by the sun, reduce wrinkles, and overal give skin a better appearance and feel.  You will find Vitamin A naturally within fruits and vegetables, but you can take a supplement if you find your diet is not quite up to par.  Vitamin A in a topical form have shown to reduce aging symptoms, acne symptoms, and improve complexion in general.  The prescriptive drug Retin-A is much more aggressive, but many over-the-counter off shoots are sold as retinols, which are similar, but less intensive.  Retinols may be a good place to start if you do not have a dermatologist or you have skin prone to sensitivity and dryness.  The usage of products in either family require additional sun protection and potentially moisturization as the skin adapts to the treatment.

Vitamin B-complex is often used to keep skin looking good and maintaining muscle tone, as well as promoting cell growth.  Biotin, part of the complex, helps with skin, nail, and hair cells.  You will find it a variety of foods like eggs and oatmeal, but there are topical versions available.  The usage of such creams can quickly give the skin a healthier appearance.

Vitamin C is an antixoidant that helps to reduce inflmmation and combat free-radical damage to skin cells.  Free radicals reduce the amuont of collagen and elastin found within skin, and it is the result of sunlight, polution, and smoke.  It can also help act as a preventative measure against sun exposure.  You can find Vitamin C in a host of fruits and vegetables, but there are supplements, to be taken in 500 to 1,000 mg per day.  If you have experienced kidney stones in the past, be advised by your doctor on your dosage of Vitamin C (as an excess can cause them!).  There are also topical Vitamin C creams that can help increase collagen production, and it would need to contain L-ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C, because it penetrates the skin layers.

Vitamin E is often included in moisturizers and creams because it is said to reduce scarring and increase skin healthiness.  It is also an antioxidant, which is important to have in any anti-aging regimen.  Like Vitamin C, it can also reduce the damage done by free radicals.  It can be found in nuts, seeds, some vegetables, but most need to take a supplement because there is not enough in food.  WebMD recommends 400 international untis per day or less.

Vitamin K is gained some ground with medical studies that say it may help to reduce undereye circles when combined with Vitamin A in a cream form.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant, and it works with both internal and external skin cells, which most antioxidants do not do (they only do one).  Like Vitamin C and E, ALA can help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals.  You can find ALA in supplement form (DHC Skincare has them available).

Hyaluronic Acid is an ingredient you may want to watch for in higher grade skin creams, because it is said to be the “glue that helps hold [skin cells] together, keeping skin looking smoother and younger.”

Minerals you may want to look into:  Copper (can help increase elastic; look for this in a cream rather than adding as a supplement), Selenium (reduces damage from the sun, including sunburn), Zinc (good for acne, reduces oil).

Where to get supplements? You can find supplements at a host of drugstores.  For certain vitamins, buying in bulk through a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club can be a great method.  Through personal experience, both myself and father buy many of our vitamins through Trader Joe’sDHC Care, which is a popular skincare brand, also has a whole section of their website dedicated to various supplements.  Even Sephora has a few supplement choices available!  And the drugstore super store of the internet is, of course, Drugstore.com.

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Beauty Discovered – Determine Your Skin Type

Determine Your Skin Type
Before you can possibly find the right skin regimen for you, it is imperative you understand the type of skin you have so you can avoid certain products and embrace others.

Dry skin is characterized by flakiness, cracks, or rough texture.  Sometimes the skin will feel tight, or the dryness may be caused by outside elements, such as wind or lack of water consumption.  Those with dry skin will often need to stay away from (or at least be wary of) products that are more extreme in their ingredients.  Toners may be unnecessary for dry skin, because toners help to regulate and reduce oil production, and dry skinned users do not suffer from an excess of oil, making this product potentially superfluous.  Many acne treatments contain ingredients that are drying, so it is important to make note of your skin’s reaction and whether it dries out, so that you can moisturize more thoroughly during certain treatments.

Normal skin is skin that does not feel greasy, but it doesn’t feel dry either.  These are lucky patrons, as they have soft skin that looks naturally lovely with no need to control oil production or increase skin moisture.  Even those with normal skin will periodically find that their skin will change through the year or even over time; normal skin may be found throughout the year until the harsh winter abounds.  Middle-of-the-road products work well for normal skin, and with today’s range in skincare, it is much easier to find products targeted to specific skin type.

Oily skin may feel greasy (or look it for some) and may also have increased pore size.  Sometimes those with oilier skin may be more acne-prone than others, especially past adolescence.  Unlike dry skinned users, oilier skin requires less moisturization, but it doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether.  It is important to find a moisturizer that is suitable for oily skin, so it doesn’t complicate or add to the problem, but it still gives your skin the proper moisture level it needs.  Toners are great for oil reduction/control, and it may be a product to be added to your skincare regimen.  Ultra-thick, luxe creams are generally not needed by those with oily skin, because they are much too intense.

Combination skin is often when you have an oilier T-zone (forehead, nose, chin), but the rest of your face is either normal or on the drier side.  Sometimes the reverse occurs, and sometimes only the cheeks are dry.  Your forehead might be oil-slicked while your cheeks are parched, which means you will most likely need products that are either targeted for combination skin or have a few to use and choose from.  For example, using an all-over facial moisturizer meant for oily skin, but then applying more generously over dry patches (OR getting a thicker, richer cream for those areas altogether).

Sensitive skin is an additional component to dry, oily, or combination skin that is essential to know.  Sensitive skin is marked by reacting more often than the normal person to certain products, ingredients, weather, or other environmental factors.  Someone with sensitive skin may experience a rapid change in skin appearance simply with using a new cleanser.  If you have sensitive skin, it is important to be wary whenever trying new skin products, and spot testing may be advisable.  Stronger products, like expensive anti-aging creams and treatments, may be too strong for sensitive skin to handle.  Those with the most sensitive may even find that natural, organic, or home-made beauty products are the only ones they can use without fear.

Beauty Discovered – Anti-aging Cream

Temptalia asked you only a week or so ago what beauty products did you not understand, and what better inspiration for this post than that?  I’m happy to introduce Beauty Discovered, where I will help you understand some of those confusing products.  If you are totally at a loss about a product, feel free to submit it as a suggestion to me.

Anti-aging cream

Anything that reverses the aging process or prevents has become the must-have beauty product in the past few years.  There are products that claim they are miracles in a jar (and it’ll take a miracle to afford most of them), like La Prairie or La Mer (which is slightly more attainable for the working woman aged 30 and over).  There are a variety of products, some targeted for the entire face, others for eyes, lips, or even the neck; companies covet certain ingredients, even though they often come down to the same basics.

Many anti-aging creams are essentially replacements for your regular, old, non-fountain-of-youth moisturizer.  Instead, picking up a moisturizer with ingredients such as retinol may help stimulate skin cell renewal and dark spot reduction.  Anti-aging creams come in a range of types that you are sure to find one appropriate for your skin type or for a specific area on the face (e.g., eyes) that you want to target when turning back the clock.  Those with sensitive skin will always want to be on the look out for creams specifically made and tested for sensitive skin.

It is imperative that with any higher grade anti-aging product that the user spot-test to ensure that they will not have an adverse reaction, preferrably on their inner forearm (we don’t want to see you ruin your face in the name of beauty!).  Higher grade anti-aging products are those such as Prevage and N.V. Perricone products; this family of products have higher concentrations of the essential ingredients that are said to prevent or reduce the signs of aging.  Cost is generally higher with these products.  Lower-grade products have smaller concentrations, and many of the anti-aging regimens found in drugstores will be in this category.  This is not to say that paying $500 for a jar of anti-aging face cream means it will have $500 worth of ingredients–it is best to look out for reviews, ask for samples, and buy within your budget.

Many anti-aging creams work using antioxidants, collagen stimulants, sunscreen, and assortments of vitamin C or E. Retinoids (Vitamin A) help rejuvenate the skin, giving it a renewed appearance, and it is often considered a wrinkle-reducing ingredient.  Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) help with the removal of dead skin cells for a fresher appearance.

Ask Temptalia – Question & Answer Session #12

If you have a question, feel free to send it to [email protected].

Q: What kind of makeup should I do for my graduation photograph?
A: So this is kind of my general take on graduation photographs based on what I wore for my photograph. The best thing you can do is take your time to make your skin look as flawless as possible. I would use a light to medium coverage foundation, with a large powder or buffer brush (my favorite is the 182 brush), spritz with water (or Fix+), and then pick up foundation and apply over. If you’d like, set with a powder. Lightly contour the hollows of your cheeks, add a touch of blusher – either glowy for a bronzed look or peachy-pink if you’re warm toned (NC) or cool-pink if you’re cool toned (NW) for a slightly blushed look. I would go softer rather than dramatic on the eyes. Play up lashes with a good black mascara, line eyes carefully with thin lines of black eyeliner. For shadow, try something neutral. I find golds to work lovely, with a warm or cool brown in the crease to define the eye better. Lips should be more dramatic than subtle, but I wouldn’t necessarily pick a red. I find dark peachy-pinks, plums, and raspberries to be great ideas to try, depending on your eye choice. If you go warm, I would look at a warm raspberry or peachy-pink lip. If you go cool, try a plum shade.  Oh, and skip adding additional SPF on this day — sometimes too much SPF can wash you out in photographing lights!