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Find self-confidence through skincare

by Gemma Asel | March 5, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Alex Haslag dermaplanes a client's face, a process that uses a razor-like tool to remove the top layer of dead skin. (Gemma Asel/News Tribune photo)

The skin on our faces goes through a lot.

Sun damage, makeup, bacteria from phones. It's no wonder faces need some extra help occasionally.

But why stop with occasionally?

Stay on top of your skincare routine daily to see results.

"It boosts your confidence, having clearer skin," said Kaia Cerezo, front desk specialist at Riversong Spa & Salon.

Better skin plays a huge part in our lives, with benefits ranging from physical to mental health, according to Alex Haslag, owner of Pure Aesthetics by Alex.

"I think one of the biggest benefits of focusing on skincare is health," Haslag said. "Whether it's making sure you wear your sunscreen to help prevent cancer or any other life threatening issue, I think that's super important.

"Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so treating that well is only going to make the rest of your health better."

The physical benefits of skincare aren't the only thing you should be pleased to hear about.

"Not only just the health part of it physically, I think mentally it does a lot for people, too," Haslag said. "Like whenever you look in the mirror and feel good about your skin or a makeup product, I think that does a lot for your whole day, week, month, year, whatever. I think it's just a big part of feeling good all around."

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all routine for skin. Skincare routines vary a lot between each person based on their skin and its current needs, according to Haslag.

Haslag recommends everyone visits an esthetician or dermatologist to get a professional opinion about their skin's needs.

"So if you're needing acne treated, that's going to look different than someone with dry skin. Or even acne at different levels has very different treatments," Haslag said.

According to Haslag, even professionals can be wrong on occasion.

"So I think it's good to be able to try something and if you're like 'It's not really working for me,' having the option to say 'OK, well let's look at it this way.' Because it's not always something topical related," Haslag said.

Gut health plays a big role in your skin, according to Haslag. She walks through a brief medical history with all of her first-time clients in order to review what could potentially be causing problems.

"They could be on medication that could be contraindicating something else. Or it could contraindicate a service that I would normally recommend, so I think it's important to look at whole-body health," Haslag said.

Don't forget to show the rest of your body the same attention as your face. Our skin takes a hit in the cold, dry winter months, so it's just as important to care for your arms, legs and the rest of your skin as well.

Haslag said: "Number one is going to be hydration. I know that it's hard, I'm not the best person at it, but you're going to help your skin head to toe by staying hydrated. Water is your best friend."

Another important step Haslag and Cerezo agreed was important is exfoliation.

"Just giving those new skin cells that are naturally coming to the surface room to do so and just getting to the freshest layer of skin," Haslag said.

Cerezo recommends the same, specifically a sugar scrub or dry brushing.

Dry brushing is the use of a coarse bristle brush on dry skin to remove dead skin before showering.

Don't forget the moisturizer. One of the most important steps to heal your skin after a scalding-hot shower is moisture.

Haslag suggested getting a good quality lotion, moisturizer or oil to put that hydration back in your skin.

"Even if you're oily," Haslag said. "I feel like sometimes it's a misconception that if you're oily, you shouldn't use a moisturizer. But that could be part of why you are so oily. Because you actually need to add moisture into your routine instead of taking it away. Or use a different type of moisturizer based on what the skin needs."

At-home skincare is arguably the most important part of maintaining skin health, according to Haslag. She said that while going to a professional for facials and other treatments are great, maintaining your routine between treatments is crucial to healthy skin.

"I think big factors in at-home care would be exfoliation," Haslag said. "You don't want to overdo it because that can cause issues like barrier issues. But exfoliation can be an important factor. Using your routine morning and night can play a big role. I know it's not easy because life gets busy but I think there's something to be said about a routine with care."

Cerezo said, "We actually have a card in every facial room and massage room, they're called homecare cards. The service provider will write what they recommend the best products for you to use."

All the products they use and recommend at Riversong Spa are available to purchase in the spa.

Other environmental factors can affect your skin's health besides what you apply topically.

Cerezo shared her tips on maintaining your skin health everyday.

"I always recommend washing your sheets and pillowcases at least once or twice a week, or every other week. And don't sleep with makeup on," Cerezo said.

She added to keep aquaphor or vaseline around, which can be used in a technique they use occasionally at the spa called slugging. Slugging is the application of aquaphor or vaseline following washing your face to create a barrier-like sealant that hydrates deeper than your everyday moisturizer. This can be especially important in the dry, winter months.

Certain products can aid your at-home routine. Haslag shared some of her favorite products she recommends.

"Vitamin C is going to be important to most people's routine," Haslag said.

Haslag said that, like with anything, it is possible to have a reaction to Vitamin C.

"That's why ingredients are important. Whenever you're buying a product, it's important to know it was sourced in an ethical way and that it's quality," Haslag said.

Vitamin C helps with anti-aging by protecting your skin from free-radicals in the air. It also aids in pigmentation issues.

Haslag added: "Retinol can be, if used correctly, a really great product for most people, even if you're younger. I feel like retinol gets placed in the older people category, which is not always accurate. You're accelerating cellular regeneration, so no matter what your age, it's going to help with either prevention or fixing whatever issue you're wanting it for."

Haslag suggests you speak with your esthetician or dermatologist before trying a retinol to ensure correct use.

"It's not a one-size-fits-all treatment," she said. "And you can cause more harm than good if used incorrectly so I think it's important to ask whatever professional you're seeing to talk to you about it."

Another tip Haslag shared is the daily use of sunscreen.

"Every morning you should be putting sunscreen on. Whether it's just a basic facial sunscreen or a quality tinted moisturizer with sunscreen in it or a quality tinted sunscreen out there," Hasheslag said.

Like all products you put on your face, sunscreen is another that you want to watch for the ingredients. Haslag said sunscreen can potentially clog your pores, so you want to do your research to ensure you're getting the right one for your skin.

Cerezo said: "If you are going to do skincare, look up the best products to use that don't have any harmful oils or petroleum in them. Because some of them that they sell at drugstores do have those harmful products in them so do your research before you use it on your skin."

Added Haslag: "I honestly think that skincare as a whole has become a big trend itself. I know that when I was younger, we didn't really talk about it."

In a world where people want immediate results, the waiting can be difficult, but Haslag said it will be worth it in the end.

If you're wanting to try something new, Haslag said her favorite product currently is the PCA Sheer Tint Sunscreen.

"I feel like it gives a nice even coverage, I know I'm protected. I mean, PCA as a whole is definitely my favorite," Haslag said.

"Seeing results and seeing people excited to see results is huge," she added. "I love helping people in that way -- I love helping people in general -- but especially to help someone feel better about themselves and feel healthy in their own skin is huge. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still do this and just do it for free. I love doing it."

photo Alex Haslag dermaplanes a clients face, a process that uses a razor-like tool to remove the top layer of dead skin. Gemma Asel/News Tribune
photo Alex Haslag dermaplanes a clients face, a process that uses a razor-like tool to remove the top layer of dead skin. Gemma Asel/News Tribune
photo Alex Haslag dermaplanes a clients face, a process that uses a razor-like tool to remove the top layer of dead skin. Gemma Asel/News Tribune
photo Alex Haslag prepares her clients skin for dermaplaning. Gemma Asel/News Tribune
photo Alex Haslag prepares her clients skin for dermaplaning. Gemma Asel/News Tribune

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