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Getting the skinny on at-home facials

May 15, 2014

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It’s easy to overlook proper skin care when professional facial services can cost more than you’re willing to shell out on what seems like a frivolous pampering. The truth is that a serious commitment to taking care of your skin regularly reduces the need for damage control in the long run.

We all want to leave the breakouts behind and delay the physical evidence of aging for as long as humanly possible. While it is in your best interest to visit an aesthetician for a professional skin consultation at the minimum of four times a year with the changing seasons, to get a proper exfoliation and extraction, many of their skin-healing ways can be practiced at home.

Don’t let your skin suffer because you can’t afford monthly spa trips. Enjoy the salon experience with a few at-home remedies and skin care admonitions, compliments of two local experts.

Phone a friend

One crucial element to getting a spa facial is the comfort of sitting back and letting someone else take care of your needs for once.

“As women, we’re nurturers and we take care of everyone else and we take care of self last,” says aesthetician Pam Biemick, who owns Amazing Skin and Makeup, 1420 Wakarusa Drive. “The reality is if we’re not healthy and whole, we aren’t in the position to take care of everyone else.” Customers are not only seeking out her skin expertise, but it’s also an hour or 90 minutes that they give themselves permission to sit back and relax.

Heighten the at-home experience by reaching out to a close friend for a spa day where you can take turns pampering each other.

Aromatherapy

When you’re working with a skin care regime, it can start to feel more clinical than relaxing while rushing through the steps. Set aside an evening when you can slow down and work with some of your favorite aromas.

“Working with a lavender candle or spraying a lavender aroma can certainly enhance the relaxation experience,” Biemick says. Put a cucumber slice on each eye lid (reduces puffiness) and take 15 to 20 minutes lying down before you get into the facial.

Steam treatment

When you’re looking to emulate a spa facial, a good steaming to cleanse skin impurities is an easy place to start, said local aesthetician Karin Kelley and owner of Karin Kelley Skin Care, 2311 Wakarusa Drive, Ste. C. Boiling a pot of water or using a rice steamer to heat up some towels to put over your face to open your pores. You can even just get some towels wet and put them in the microwave to get them warm, but not hot, Kelley said.

Get creative with a mask

Karin Kelley's Simple Oatmeal Mask

Ingredients

1 teaspoon oatmeal, ground into a powder in a blender or food processor

1 teaspoon plain yogurt

1 teaspoon honey

Directions

  1. Blend all three ingredients in a bowl to make a paste
  2. Wash face thoroughly and steam with a couple of warm wash cloths
  3. Apply mask and allow to dry for 10 to 15 minutes
  4. Rinse off with water
  5. Apply moisturizer

Natural Ingredients

1) Lemons, limes and other acidic fruits are exfoliants. Biemick has a peel in her salon that combines papaya and pineapple.

2) Honey can used to hydrate the skin.

3) Oatmeal is calming and soothing.

4) Milk products (like yogurt) contain lactic acid, which smooths the skin and reduces appearance of aging.

Before applying a mask to the skin, it’s important to use a facial scrub to further clean the skin, found at any drugstore, or Karin Kelley makes her own organic walnut scrub available for purchase at her spa.

Many household items can be used as a mask, Kelley said, her favorite being Manuka honey, which can be found at the Merc, 901 Iowa St.

“It’s really good for the skin and helps fight bacteria and acne,” she said. “You can do a combination of oatmeal, milk and honey. You can get creative with it.”

Rinse with cool water, apply a toner and a serum full of vitamins and active ingredients. Lastly, apply a moisturizer. It’s usually a trial-and-error process to finding the perfect moisturizer for your skin, said Biemick, but remember that with summer humidity, you’d want to find a lighter product (as opposed a creamy product to combat winter dryness).

Be wary of medication

People often overlook that different medications can directly affect skin sensitivity, which would change the different products you should use, Biemick said. For instance, Retin A is a form of vitamin A that helps renew skin, but a side effect is that it also thins the skin.

“It’s important to know that when it comes to waxing because that can actually lift the skin,” Biemick said.

Don’t over-exfoliate

Without professional advising, it’s best to avoid home peels, Kelley said. A peel is a high concentration of glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acid.

“You don’t know what your skin can take, and there’s a very high likelihood that you’ll either burn yourself or cause damage to your skin,” Kelley says. Keep in mind, peels will also make your skin more vulnerable in sunlight, which is why spas tend to ditch the peel during the spring and summer.

Lifestyle advice for better skin

Sunscreen

The biggest failure with sunscreen is that people often forget to reapply and to apply thoroughly and wear year-round, said both aestheticians. “You need about a shot glass of product for your face and body,” Pam Biemick said. Remember the areas that are more vulnerable to sun, such as ears and the back of the neck. Reapply every one to two hours, and always after swimming. If you’re particularly prone to burning, Biemick swears by her double-dose application process where she applies sunscreen before going out, waits 30 minutes, and then applies again.

Pay attention to what you put in your body

Put down the potato chips and invest in putting fresh fruits and vegetables into your body. Recognizing the importance of super fruits in your diet is a popular topic of discussion for the skincare industry right now because they are packed with antioxidants.

“We’re learning a whole lot right now that we put inside is affecting the outside,” Kelley said. Once we clean up our diets, our skin issues start to clean up, she said.

Remember to increase your water intake as well. “Water is the most important thing you can add to your diet that will improve your skin,” Kelley said.

De-stress

De-stressing by maintaining a regular exercise schedule is not only good for your body, but particularly your skin. Stress ages us really fast, Kelley said. People start getting worry lines, wrinkles and start to look haggard overall with continuous stress.

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