Tag: serum

Wake Up from Your Dry Winter Skin Nightmare

Hey. It’s Fall/Winter here in Northern California and the weather is getting quite tricky. Usually, we refer to fall as winter because we are accustomed to great weather here, year round. But this time things are different. All of the wildfires happening this October has caused our air quality to be drier (and our temperatures a little warmer) than it usually is this time of year. So for those of us here in the Bay Area, it looks like we’ll need to switch up our skin care routines. The outside elements have changed as a result of the wildfires and though you may not feel any different, chances are your skin is changing. Every client I’ve seen this past week has had dry or dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin isn’t typically an anomaly, but every client having dehydrated skin is telling. There’s no reason why any of us should be experiencing dry winter skin while sun is still radiating 80º F warmth. So let’s kick those skin care routines into high gear and kick the dry and dehydrated skin to the curb.

Why is my skin suddenly so dry?

The seasons are still changing, even if you’re not in California. If you’re in an area that truly experiences four seasons, you are probably already familiar with the ways in which your skin can change with the weather. With the temperature drops come drier air which leads to dry skin. The fall and winter months lack the humidity that helps keep moisture in the skin. The cooler (and often harsher) winds that sweep across our faces further strip the natural moisture within the skin’s protective barrier. As we lose more moisture our skin gets a bit more sensitive to the elements. This is why our lips seem to get chapped more frequently or why a strong gust of wind can leave us with red patches in the colder months. If you have eczema or psoriasis, you are likely to see your conditions exacerbated during these dry winter skin seasons.

Your Dry Winter Skin Survival Kit

  • Cleansing balms/milks: I’ve found that cream cleansers are the real MVPs of dry winter skin. In particular, cleansing balms and cleansing milks are best suited for the colder conditions. Those with dry skin types may already be using these types of cleansers but I recommend them for all skin types during winter. These clean without removing the little moisture that may be left in the skin.
  • Exfolitone: Now is not the time for manual scrubs. If your skin is already tight and dry from outside conditions then manual exfoliation—yes, that includes those brushes too—is doing more harm than good. Using an exfoliating toner in the winter is a much better alternative. Exfoliating toners work to deep cleanse the follicles and gently remove dead skin. Look for toners with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)/Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and be sure you’re using the best one for your skin type. If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick with the AHA toners. Oily/acneic or combination can benefit best from BHA toners. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid toners are most common. You may also want to start a chemical peel regimen if you’ve noticed the dry conditions are also affecting your skin’s texture.
  • Hydrate: This one you’ll want to do internally and externally. We already know that drinking water is key to keeping the skin hydrated but we can also hydrate our skin from the outside. Once you’ve finished cleansing and exfolitoning, use a hydrating mist. Think beyond the typical rose water. Use a hydrating mist that includes glycerin, hyaluronic acid, jojoba, or avocado oils. Follow up your hydrating mist with a hydrating serum. Yes, hyaluronic acid is the hydrating humectant we all love but there are others too. Serums with B5, Vitamin C, and ceramides also help boost hydration.
  • Moisturize: In the Spring and Summer, you might be able to get away with making your sunscreen work as both a moisturizer and protectant. But just as you will be layering fall fashion, you have to layer your moisturizers too. Start with a facial oil your skin will love. There are facial oils for all skin types so make sure you choose one that won’t be irritating. Be modest when applying your facial oils since two more products will have to go on top of them. Next, you’ll want to use thicker moisturizers to ensure all day protection and apply liberally. If you’re worried about clogging your pores by using thicker moisturizers, try Vaseline or Aquaphor. They’re non-comedogenic and occlusive which means they lock moisture in. Lastly, don’t forget that you still need to use your SPF on top of your moisturizer!

Save your skin this winter by remembering these steps: Cleanse, Exfolitone, Hydrate, and Moisturize. You can also indulge in a weekly hydrating mask and collagen eye treatment. Book with me to learn more!

Getting Serious About Serum

Life was so much easier when we were all using Noxzema (gasp!) and Oxy (yikes!) however, these days, simple cleansing just won’t cut it. As we begin our graceful ascent into our later years—the graceful glow as I like to call it—we should all add a serum into our daily routine. Serums are highly concentrated formulas containing active ingredients designed to penetrate the deepest layers of the skin. They can target specific problem areas within your skin because the molecular structure of a serum is much smaller than what can be found in your everyday skin care products. The majority of serums are water-based which can work well for nearly every skin type, but there are a few that are oil-based.

If you want to get to the root of your skin care concerns, you often have to look beneath the skin. The blemish or signs of aging we see on our faces are just the visible signs of skin damage that could have been weeks or months in the works. This is why serums are essential to a good skin care regimen. The not-so-awesome news: highly concentrated active ingredients are a bit more costly than other skin care products. So be prepared to spend quite a lot of money on what appears to be not so much. Don’t worry, the saying big things come in small packages holds true for serums—a little goes a long way.  And while, yes, you are adding one more product into your daily or nightly (or both?) routine you’ll find that it’s totally worth it.

You want to place serums after cleansing and before moisturizing. If you’re thinking you can skip a step by just adding your serum into your moisturizer, sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Mixing a serum with any other products cuts the efficacy of the serum. Pressing a serum into your skin will garner the best results. Let’s get in to what kind of serum you should use and at what age you should start using it.


It’s likely that you won’t need to start exploring different serums until your reach your late twenties. This is a good time to incorporate a serum containing Vitamin C, resveratrol, and ferulic acid. Vitamin C helps increase collagen production and has antioxidant properties. Reservatrol is a polyphenol antioxidant found naturally in red grapes, nuts, and berries. It is particularly useful in protecting against UVB damage and increasing the effectiveness of your sunscreen throughout the day. Ferulic Acid is a hydroxycinnamic acids that helps fight free radicals.


Now is the time you want to get one step ahead of your wrinkles. You’ll want to use serums that target anti-aging containing ingredients such as Vitamin A, malic acid, and Coenzyme Q-10. Vitamin A is a good source of retinol which helps to reduce wrinkles by boosting collagen and elastin. Malic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) found naturally in apples that helps restore a youthful glow promoting collagen formation and helping to even the skin tone. Coenzyme Q-10 (or CQ-10) also promotes collagen production and is an antioxidant.


This is around the time our skin begins to get drier. Look for serums fortified with hyaluronic acid, vitamin Eniacinamide, and ceramides. Hyaluronic acid is the great hydrator that is found in most skin care products. As a serum it really helps to retain moisture in the skin as it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. You can actually reverse the visible signs of aging with niacinamide. Derived from niacin (also known as vitamin B3), this antioxidant prevents Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and restores the skin’s elasticity. Ceramides help form the skin’s protective barrier, lock in moisture, and protect against sun damage.


If you’re experiencing some hyperpigmentation look for serums containing kojic acid, bearberry, lactic acid, or licorice root. For breakouts you’ll want a serum that contains salicylic acid, zinc, and retinol. If your skin is super sensitive look for ingredients like aloe, chamomile, and lavender.

When you visit your esthetician, it’s likely that they will use a few different serums to treat different problems. Now that you know about serums, book an appointment to learn more about which serum will work best for your specific skin concerns and skin type!

Image Credit: Instagram user @Itsbankhead via Blackhaiirstyles on Tumblr