I have been in the aesthetic industry for over 20 years. In this time there is one thing I always try and do and that is to educate my clients - whether it is on how their muscles work, how hair grows, down to skin care and how the skin works. Education is key, especially in the beauty world, as there is so much on the market – the beauty world is the fastest moving industry around with new things popping up every 2 minutes. For me the most important thing is to understand how your skin works and what suits your skin, as no two people are the same when it comes to what we like – smells, texture, ingredients and packaging.

I would like to explain the basics of how the skin works and the difference between a cosmetic, cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical.  Our skin is the largest organ of our body. The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold. Some people call it our second liver or our 3rd kidney as it too eliminates waste.  It is made up of 3 layers:

The Epidermis (the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone, this layer of skin is made up of dead skin cells)

The Dermis (the layer beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The basal layer is found here and is where skin cells form and grow)

The Hypodermis (deeper subcutaneous tissue is made of fat, connective tissue and blood vessels)

So what we put on our skin is very important! There are 3 different categories of product on the market:

A Cosmetic is something you can buy in the shop. You do not need assistance to buy it and you can choose what you like to use. This product will only work on the top layer of the skin – The Epidermis.

A Cosmeceutical is a range that contains highly active ingredients and these ingredients will penetrate from the epidermis right down to the dermis; thereby treating all new cells formed (due to the Basal layer being there) and older cells. This type of skin care will be found in any good beauty salon or even at some doctors/dermatologist practices.

Pharmaceutical products contain active ingredients that are so active that they penetrate the blood stream and therefore need a prescription from a doctor to use them.

Please note that just because a cosmeceutical contains active products this does not mean they all have chemicals. Some are purely plant based but as they are so active and penetrate deeper, they need to be monitored by professionals.

The first most important thing about a good skin care routine is actually the cleanser. Most people think that this is where they can save money on a routine, however this actually sets the skin right for the next step. If you use a cleanser that is not ph balanced, or has SLS (Sodium laureth sulfate – this is the ingredient found in anything that foams) or alcohol in,  it will strip the acid mantel (the slightly oily, acid film naturally found on the surface of our skin which protects it from bacterial invasion).  It is at this point that you have already started to upset the apple cart with the rest of your routine. Some people will experience dry skin, some oilier, especially as the day goes on, some acne….the acid mantle is paramount to skin health.

So, please be aware of what you use on your skin as step 1. I will be covering all conditions as well as what each step in a skin care routine can do in further blogs.

Lee Mitchell offers Massage, Health and Skin Care, in a Wellness Centre with Chiropractors and Physiotherapists. Deep Tissue Massage, including Pregnancy Massage using pillows allowing you to lie on your tummy, Thai Leg and Foot Massage, Hot Stone, Swedish Massage, Indian Head Massage, regimA Skin Care, MediHeel Pedicures and Manicures (Hot Parrifin Wax treatments), Hot and Strip Wax, Gel overlays, Individual Eyelash Extensions, Lash and Brow Tinting, Organic Stray Tans.

Find out more about Lee Mitchell.

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