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Your skin’s barrier is at its strongest and most effective when it has an ideal pH of 5.5—that’s when it’s perfectly balanced. But how can you know if your skin’s pH is off? Dr. G says, “If your pH is too alkaline, your skin will appear flaky and red. If it’s too acidic, inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and acne tend to flare.”

The struggle to balance skin no matter your age can be daunting. The goal is to improve tone and texture while keep the complexion clear and hydrated.  The best way to balance your skin is to put a healthy regimen into place. Follow these steps and you’ll skin will feel happy and balanced in no time.

Exfoliation + Cleansing

Cleansing or washing the face should happen twice a day. Upon waking, washing the face will remove the residue from applied night treatments and moisturizers. Remember to choose a cleanser that won’t strip or dry the skin, as this is imperative to keep the pH balanced. Look for a cleanser that does not contain harsh chemicals, dyes or artificial fragrances.

Cleansing the skin at night is crucial- no exceptions. The skin is exposed to many pollutants from just stepping foot outside. Soot, car exhaust, sun, secondhand smoke and many other pollutants wreak havoc on the skin leaving a layer of dirt and free radicals. Makeup also needs to be removed no matter what. Sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Clogged pores will lead to break outs and or rashes. By cleansing at night the skin is ready to receive and absorb any applied serums and creams.

When we talk about ‘cleansing’ we need to include exfoliation. Everyone should exfoliate their skin two to three times a week, unless you suffer from rosacea or eczema, in which case use an enzymatic exfoliator instead of a physical one. Depending on the season and climate, exfoliation can be increased or decreased. Both manual and chemical exfoliation is recommended and dependent on results desired.

Listen to your skin

Over cleansing is never recommended as it strips the skin of natural oils which can cause an over production of oil/sebum and thus a breakout. However, this is highly dependent on what type of cleanser (ingredients) being used and skin type. If you are oily and using a gentle gel based natural cleanser, like our ‘Pure Start cleanser’, you can’t really over cleanse. If you are typically dry or have sensitive skin you have to be especially careful with which types of ingredients you choose. Stay away from astringents, acids, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol. If your skin starts to feel dry or stripped, gets irritated or flaky, listen to the signs. Over cleansing and under cleansing can both cause-unbalanced skin.

Climate + Environment

Balanced skin can also be a result of the climate and environment you live in. For example if you live in a cold climate, exfoliation should decrease during cold, dry months. Likewise, cleansing and antioxidant protection should increase in urban settings to battle pollution and free radicals.

The best rule of thumb is to listen to your skin, as less is usually more when it comes to products.

When choosing the correct product for your skincare goals and needs, understanding ingredients is imperative. We always go back Dr. G, to understand the power player ingredients and why he formulates with them. Below are some favorites and where to find them.

Retinoids attack hyperpigmentation, stimulate the skin to generate collagen and hyaluronic acid, increase radiance by reducing pore size, safely exfoliate and increase cell turnover. Find them in Wake Up Call and Hands to Heart.

Peptides encourage skin cell growth and collagen production. Peptides are made up of a string of amino acids held together by tough bonds of nitrogen and carbon that act as messengers to send out signals which tell the receptors on your skin cells how they should perform. Find them in Plant Profusion Neck Cream.

Acetyl hexapeptide is a powerful wrinkle-reducing neuropeptide that works by hindering a signal protein called catecholamine that triggers muscle contraction, thereby relaxing your facial muscles. Find it in Needle-less serum.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs (Lactic acid, Glycolic acid and Fruit acids) are used as a facial exfoliator and are an excellent choice for people with sun-damaged skin, aging skin or normal to dry skin types. AHAs do not cause sun sensitivity and come in the forms of lactic acid which is derived from milk, glycolic acid which is derived from sugarcane and fruit acids which are derived from fruits (citrus and apples/malic acid). Found in Fresh-A-Peel.

Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA (also called salicylic acid) comes from acetylsalicylic acid which is the same source as aspirin. In general, beta hydroxy acid is a more effective treatment for acne-prone skin. BHA is the only acid that can dissolve the keratin plug inside a pore, which will ultimately form a pimple. BHA can cause sun sensitivity and must always be used in conjunction with sunscreen.  Find it in Detox Clarifying Gel.

Mallow extremely soothing and loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Find it in our Detox Cleanser as part of our proprietary DETOX complex.

Elderflower promotes blood flow and loaded with vitamins A, B, C and E. A true powerhouse ingredient. Find it in Skin Balancing Mask.

Arnica helps with bruising and the darkness involved and contains flavonoids, polysaccharides, and sesquiterpene lactones. Also contains the beneficial oil, thymol, clinically shown to cause the smooth muscles in your blood vessel walls to contract, thereby dilating them and increasing blood flow and circulation. Found in Bright Eyes.

Milk thistle Fatty acids, including linoleic acid, Vitamin E (antioxidant/environmental stressors, Silymarin, which is actually a group of three flavonoids (anti-aging, antioxidant purposes from environmental stressors). Found in Fleuressence Botanical Cell Oil.

Japonica flower one of the most important medicinal herbs in history, may provide extraordinary levels of calming properties. Loaded with key benefits to improve the appearance of flaws. Found in Facial Detox Mask.

Achieve your most healthy and glowing skin when science and nature combine.

Depending on who you ask, glowing, radiant skin is priceless. But when it comes to the wonderful world of skincare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of products at your disposal. That said, if you’re new to skincare or otherwise want to simplify your routine, there are a few tried-and-true staples you’ll always want on hand.

If your goal is to know which types of products deserve prime real estate on your bathroom shelf, consider this your ultimate guide to skincare essentials.

4 Essential Steps for a Simplified Skincare Routine

Exfoliate

Sometimes overlooked yet essential nonetheless, exfoliating just might be the magical step that’s missing in your current skincare routine.

Simply put, the benefits of exfoliating are plenty. (And, if you ask me, they’re too good to pass up.) Among many things, exfoliating:

  • clears away dead skin cells
  • promotes skin cell turnover
  • smooths skin
  • evens tone
  • boosts radiance
  • helps reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines
  • allows other products to penetrate better and work more effectively

Luckily, there are different options to choose from when it comes to finding the best exfoliator for you.

First, there are physical exfoliators that manually polish your complexion. Remember to exfoliate gently with only light pressure.

If you prefer to go this route, make sure to choose an exfoliating scrub with perfectly round exfoliants—rather than jagged shells that can inflame the skin, or plastic microbeads that can threaten the environment—such as the ruby crystals in our Doctor’s Scrub. (Bonus: The Doctor’s Scrub also contains hydrating powerhouse hyaluronic acid and moisturizing jojoba oil.)

P.S.: Don’t forget that all your skin could use some love, too! Add on the Doctor’s Body Scrub for smooth, glowing skin from head to toe.

Second, there are chemical exfoliators that polish your skin with AHAs, BHAs, PHAs, and/or fruit enzymes. Personally, we love lactic acid for its gentle yet still potent properties. Luckily, lactic acid also happens to be one of the best exfoliators for sensitive skin. You can find it alongside citrus fruit enzymes in Fresh A Peel, which promotes a fresh, youthful glow—sans irritation. (Note: You’d use this type of exfoliating treatment only after cleansing.)

Cleanse

Cleansing is arguably the most important step in any skincare routine.

A good cleanser is your best bet to remove surface oils, dirt, and impurities from both daily and overnight buildup. After washing your face with a high-quality cleanser, you’ll have a clear, fresh canvas that’ll allow the next products to work their magic.

For a gentle, gel-based cleanser that’ll delight your skin and senses alike, Pure Start is your best bet. For those who are acne-prone, we also have the Detox Clarifying Facial Wash with a blend of exfoliating AHAs and antioxidants for a deeper clean.

Treat

This all-important step in your routine is all about you and will be specific to your unique skin concerns.

Such concerns may include:

  • blemishes
  • dryness
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • hyperpigmentation
  • an uneven, dull skin tone

Daily, semi-weekly, or weekly treatments are your best allies to supercharge progress to achieve your biggest skin goals.

As far as products go, skincare treatments often come in the form of a serum or oil. They’ll typically contain a concentrated amount of active ingredients to address your areas of concern.

When choosing the best specialized treatments for your skin, here’s a quick primer with a few star ingredients to look out for:

  • hyaluronic acid for dry or dehydrated skin
  • retinol for rejuvenation and anti-aging
  • alpha arbutin for natural lightening of dark spots
  • antioxidants (such as CoQ10 and vitamins C and E) for brightness and protection from free radicals

Apply your treatment after cleansing and allow it to absorb fully before moving on to the next step of your simplified skincare routine.

Hydrate & Moisturize

Last but not least, hydrating and moisturizing products will keep your skin fresh and promote a healthy skin barrier.

To clarify, hydrators (aka humectants) help from within to infuse your skin cells with water. Meanwhile, moisturizers (aka occlusives) lock in the moisture you’ve achieved thus far.

Both provide a necessary one-two punch to encourage a fresh, glowing complexion both throughout the day and into the night. After all, if you’ve made it this far into your skincare routine, your progress will be for naught if your skin gets parched or goes unprotected.

Some people may prefer nourishing their skin with an oil alone, like Fleuressence, which replenishes hydration and softens skin with omega fatty acids. Otherwise, a tried-and-true moisturizer, such as Vital Boost, can provide a brightening glow for all skin types.

To get even more granular, you can also use a moisturizer tailored to your skin concerns. Additionally, you may choose to use a richer formula, such as the Plant Profusion Night Cream, to boost moisture and radiance even further while you get your beauty sleep.

Final Thoughts

For those who are new to skincare or simply want to pare down their shelves to the essentials, these four pillars get the job done to inch you closer to your ideal of great skin. (And don’t forget, applying SPF daily is the ultimate insurance policy for skin protection.)

It’s also worth noting that when you revamp your skincare routine, you should integrate only one new product at a time for at least two weeks. A more ideal time frame would be a month, which will permit a full cycle for skin cells to turn over. Doing so will allow you to witness progress in the making, as well as understand which new products yield results.

Finally, once your skin starts to improve, you’ll probably start to wonder what other goodies you’ve been missing out on. (I’m talking mists, masks, eye creams, and the like.) As terrific as these other products are, start first with the basics and then feel free to work your way up.

Author Bio
Michele Ross is a beauty and lifestyle writer based in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about clean skincare and hiking in the California sunshine (with adequate SPF, of course).