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Facial Cleansing: Step 1, Big Impact

how to wash your face

We all know that a good skincare regimen begins with step number 1: cleansing. But did you know that how you cleanse your face is just as important?

How to wash your face is just as important as cleansing it.

This is especially important for those with breakout-prone skin or those with sensitive skin and skin prone to redness and/or rosacea. Whenever I recommend a cleanser in my skincare studio, I always stress the importance of how to use the cleanser. Every single time I say, “Fingers are Fine.” What does this mean? It means to just wash with your hands. No washcloth, no rotary brushes, no silicone scrubbers. The reason is because all these items cause unnecessary friction movement in the skin. This causes too much manipulation of the skin’s delicate surface and will in turn cause big problems for those with active acne or weakened capillaries.

how to wash your face

Imagine you have a newly formed pimple on your face that hurts and is swollen. Now what do you think will happen if you rub on top of that repeatedly? It will break it and leak its contents within the skin’s tissue. Part of the contents includes active bacteria. You will then have ammunition to form new pimples all around the original lesion. Who wants that?

If you have weakened capillaries (red squiggly lines typically found on cheeks and nose) and you rub on top of that repeatedly, you can create more of those or increase the size of the ones that are visible. Capillaries are small blood vessels that reside just under the top layers of skin and are very easy to weaken (aka break) with friction movement.

The best way to wash your face is to use warm water and your fingers.

The best way to wash your face is to use warm water and your fingers. Clever marketing by cleansing device companies have you believe that you cannot possibly get a deep enough cleanse just using your fingers. They claim the brush or scrubber gets more dirt out of your pores. Nothing, I repeat, nothing reaches down into your pores and extracts the dirt and debris. All cleansing devices skim the skin’s surface and work on the skin, not in the skin.

Are you in the market for a great cleanser? I recommend my Purifying Bar. This is my top-selling product 5 years in a row and for great reason. Purifying Bar is handmade with love by me with rhassoul clay, bentonite clay, tea tree oil, lavender oil, as well as zinc oxide and chamomile. All these beautiful ingredients come together to not only cleanse your skin gently without stripping all your oil, but it also helps reduce redness and inflammation. Perfect for all skin types.

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How to Brighten Old Acne Marks and Scars

Leftover pigmentation from a breakout can hang around for quite some time. In some cases, I’ve seen acne scars linger for up to a year! Yikes! What happens if you constantly break out every month? Sooner rather than later, you’ll have a face full of unwanted dark spots. These dark marks will eventually fade over time, but how can you get rid of them sooner? There are some ways to turnover those darkened skin cells quicker, so that they fade more rapidly. But first, let’s look at why this happens in the first place.

Why do Acne Scars Happen?

When you get a pimple, your skin recognizes this as an ‘injury’ and in order to protect itself from that injury, your skin deposits pigment in that spot. The pigment comes from the melanin produced by your melanocyte cells. As a general rule, the darker your skin is, the longer these marks will stay around. Because you can see breakouts in the mirror, they are residing in the upper layers of your skin called the epidermis. Once the breakout is gone, the resulting dark pigment is also left in your epidermis. In order to get rid of that dark pigmentation in your top layers of skin, you’ll need to introduce exfoliation into your routine.

acne scars

 Introducing Exfoliation into Your Routine

Exfoliation may be in the form of a scrub or a serum and the one you use depends on how sensitive your skin is. If your skin is combination (both dry and oily) and pretty tolerant of most things, I would suggest using a facial scrub 1-3 times per week to turnover your skin cells faster and fade those acne scars. A great one to try is my Pore Refining Polish. This particular product contains a variety of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) as well as salicylic acid (BHA) to refine your skin and increase cellular turnover.

If your skin is more sensitive or you already have a scrub and would like an alternative exfoliating product, I recommend my Exfoliating Enzyme Mask. This non-granular exfoliating mask combines the antioxidant-rich fruit enzymes found in papaya and pineapple to smooth, refine, and brighten your skin, naturally. You would use this product 1-3 times per week as a boost of brightening to your existing skin care regimen.

acne scars

I would love to hear your thoughts once you have tried one of these products. Please feel free to drop a comment below or if you have additional questions, ask them in the comments – Erica

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How to Minimize Pores with Clarity Serum

Fresh Faced Skin Care Clarity Serum - Minimize Pores and Blackheads

The #1 concern that my clients have is pore size

How can you make your pores smaller? Well, the bad news is, you can’t shrink your pores to make them smaller. Pore size is genetic and you cannot change the physical size of them. The good news is, you can minimize the look of large pores by keeping them clean and free of debris (skin cells, dirt, and oil). Pores also do not open and close like many people are led to believe. They do not have muscles that allow them to physically open and close. Rather, pores are channels that exist in your skin to allow the passage of oil from the deeper layers of your skin to reach the outer layer in order to provide protection.

So, how can we keep our pores clean and make them look as small as possible?

You can achieve the look of airbrushed skin with Clarity Serum. I developed Clarity Serum to absorb immediately into your skin and into your pores where it stays all day to slowly dissolve the dead skin cells, dirt and debris that fall in. This is why it is important to use Clarity Serum in the morning on clean, dry skin. Skin cells fall off throughout the day, so the serum will do the work for you in keeping your pores clean without the need to physically scrub your skin. When skin cells collect in your pores, they combine with the oil that you are also producing. This will form a plug which leads to breakouts in the form of whiteheads, blackheads and pustules. The best preventative strategy in reducing breakouts is keeping the dead skin cells dissolved.

Why is Clarity Serum so effective?

Clarity Serum’s primary ingredient is Mandelic Acid. Mandelic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from almonds. Because it has a larger molecular structure than Glycolic Acid, for example, it doesn’t penetrate through all of your skin’s layers immediately causing irritation. Rather, Mandelic Acid stays in the upper layers of your skin and goes to work where your concerns actually are- in the top layers of your skin. The upper layers of skin is where all of our unwanted skin issues occur and that’s why you can see breakouts, dark spots, and wrinkles in the mirror. The Mandelic Acid will gently dissolve the dead skin cells and keep your pores clear.

After using Clarity Serum for about a week, pay attention to the look of your pores in a magnification mirror. As you continue to use Clarity Serum, your skin will start looking brighter and feel incredibly smooth, like glass. Please let me know how you like Clarity Serum and the changes you have seen in your skin as a result!


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How to Clear Adult Acne with the Key 3

adult acne

Adult women experiencing breakouts is very common, even if they haven’t experienced breakouts before as a teenager. This is all because of hormones. I specialize in treating acne and most people assume that I just treat a ton of teenagers. The answer is yes, I do see lot of teens, but most of my acne clients are actually adult women. In fact, 59% of my acne clients are adult women over the age of 26.

Acne is a genetic condition and you cannot cure it, but you can manage it. A pimple here and there will still happen because of those pesky hormones. But, what about the clusters of breakouts that keep happening in certain ares of your face? This can be managed very quickly and easily with the Key 3 products. I developed the Key 3 to work on the exact causes of breakouts in the skin. This is why these products work differently than other products currently on the market, including prescription medication.

The primary cause of breakouts in acne-prone individuals is skin cells.

The skin cells fall off rapidly in those that are acne-prone (thanks to your genes) and collect in your pores. The bacteria that live in everyone’s skin to protect our bodies from foreign invaders now have something to feed on and they go crazy! The thing is, we need the bacteria to be there (which is why you cannot take antibiotics for this issue), but we don’t need them to be hyper. When skin cells fill the pores, they begin mixing with the oil that we produce (sebum). This forms plugs that lead to breakouts. The best way that we can manage the excess skin cells topically is by exfoliation.

The exfoliation method is the most important piece to managing breakouts.

However, the exfoliation has to be gentle and not too aggressive. This is why the Clarity Serum from the Key 3 works so well. You apply a thin layer all over your skin in the morning on clean, dry skin and it absorbs immediately into your pores. It will slowly dissolve all of the skin cells that fall off into the pores throughout the day. Retinoids are often given by Dermatologists to help with exfoliation, but the problem is that they can only be used at night. Skin cells are falling off and collecting in the pores during the day, so by the time you apply a retinoid at night, a plug has already started to form and it is too late.

Oil production is the second most important piece to managing breakouts.

Oil is like fertilizer for the bacteria that live in our skin. The more oil you produce, the more hyper the bacteria become. Oil production increases in the skin because of hormonal fluctuations. Hormones are present in our skin and whenever we experience a fluctuation in those hormones (i.e. period, pregnancy, menopause), we experience an increase in oil due to the increase in testosterone levels. This is why adult women who are genetically prone to acne experience breakouts throughout their whole lifetime!

A water-based moisturizer is the perfect way to balance the oil in our skin. The moisturizer mimics the oil produced by our skin and that allows the skin not to make more. I created two water-based moisturizer options: Balance Moisturizer and Nourish Moisturizer. Balance Moisturizer is more fluid-like and very lightweight. It is meant for oily skin types. Whereas, Nourish Moisturizer is more creamy and is meant for combination to dry skin types. You would apply your moisturizer twice a day as the last step in your routine.

Gently cleansing your skin prior to applying any treatment product is very important. If you use a cleanser with active ingredients (such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide), you will strip your skin completely of its oil content. When you do that, your skin will go into overdrive and start creating a bunch of oil just to replace what was stripped away by that cleanser. This is where the Purifying Bar from the Key 3 comes in. It not only gently cleanses with a neutral pH, it also has natural treatment-based properties to help with the breakouts, redness and inflammation. You would use just the lather from the Purifying Bar twice a day on your face (you can use the bar on your body for any breakouts). Allow the lather to sit on your skin for 30 seconds to 1 minute before rinsing.

I developed the Key 3 with the help of my clients.

It works for all types of breakouts, from mild cases to more severe acne. The reason it works so well is because it address both the skin cell issue, as well as the excess oil production. I am very happy to have created such a streamlined set of products that continue to help so many women experiencing adult acne and I love to hear your feedback! Please let me know how you love the Key 3 by leaving a comment below.