I am SO excited to finally be sharing this with you guys! While I was in New York City, I got the chance to interview Diane Avitable, an esthetician who talked to me about all things skin care. She gave me loads of information and I learned so much about taking care of my skin. So, grab a snack (or five) and get comfortable, because this is something you need to read!
Can you explain what an esthetician is?
An esthetician is considered a skin care professional. They specialize in skin and help people build skin care regimens, correct skin conditions and balance the skin.
How often you should wash your makeup brushes and when do you need to replace them?
If someone is wearing a lot of heavy makeup, then their brushes should be washed at least once a week and then dried out over night. Wash with something that is a low-foam detergent and sulfate free. Makeup brush cleaner isn’t a gimmick because it’s specifically designed to hold the strength of the bristles so that the surfactants and the product break the makeup fibers down.
As far as replacing makeup brushes, if you buy really good ones then you shouldn’t have to replace them that often. When you’re thinking about making a purchase, look into brushes that have synthetic fibers and stay away from things that could cause any kind of mold— like wood handles. Wood handles look nice, but they could trap bacteria.
Today’s brands are always marketing “new and improved” products. What would you say are the top products everyone needs to have in their skin care regimen?
I believe in a six-product regimen. It’s a cleanser, some sort of toner and/or essence, moisturizer (that’s going to go for both day and night), exfoliator, eye cream and serum. That’s the basic. If you look at it from an age demographic, you can prioritize what you need and don’t need. Not everyone needs a serum, but when you get past 28 or 30, you should start looking into what serum would be best for you based on your skin needs. For eye cream, anyone after 21 should be using one.
What are some tips for getting rid of blemishes?
That’s really tricky because there are different types of acne, so it depends what type of acne you’re dealing with. My number one pro-tip is don’t pick your face! Just don’t touch it. Also, stay away from the desire to over-dry it. We as a culture think that to get rid of acne you need to dry out your face, but if you dry it too much, the acne is going to become more irritated and just get bigger. Think about treating the skin not only as apneic, but also as anti-inflammatory. Whether it’s bacterial-based or something else, inflammation is at the root of all acne.
Once those blemishes are gone, what can people do to keep their skin clear?
Definitely avoid products that are going to be really heavy. So things like lanolins, mineral oils, petro chemicals, any type of petroleums; things that are designed to suffocate the skin so that the skin isn’t breathing and functioning the best it can.
Drink a lot of water. Make sure the skin is being flushed internally and that there is a good hydration reservoir happening. Always wash your face before you go to bed, even if you don’t wear makeup. Lastly, try to understand what’s causing the breakouts and then cater the regimen to that. It’s hard to say what everyone should do to keep their skin clear because everyone’s skin is different, but these are some things that definitely will not hurt you.
What are some preventative measures that people can take to reduce/avoid fine lines and wrinkles?
Sunscreen. You want a level 30 every single day that’s UVA and UVB protection. Also, exfoliate. That’s really going to help smooth the texture of the skin. Make sure that the skin is really well hydrated and that means more water. It doesn’t matter if you’re the oiliest of the oily, every type of skin needs more water. Water is going to create a more supple effect to the skin and a lot of stuff with fine lines and wrinkles is smoke and mirrors. If the skin is more hydrated, then the fine lines and wrinkles don’t look as apparent.
Start thinking about incorporating antioxidants into the regimen. Antioxidants help reduce free radical damage and when free radical damage happens, the strength of your collagen in your elastin breaks down and that’s when your skin becomes more susceptible to lines and wrinkles.
Do you think facials are worth the hype? If so, how often should people be getting them?
My analogy for facials is it’s like having a really nice car, but never changing the oil. With that being said, facials every 4-8 weeks if it’s in your budget. My thing with facials is the hype facials are exactly that, they’re just hype. Find a good esthetician who understands skin care and ingredients, is not trying to push products on you and is genuinely invested in the health of your skin. A good facial shouldn’t run you more than $100-$150 depending on where you are.
If you think of your skin as the largest organ of your body, it’s the exact same approach as when we take really good care of what we eat. If you look at someone who’s been having facials for their entire life and someone who hasn’t, there is an obvious difference. The once a year facial is going to be pampering, but it’s not going to do anything for the health and maintenance of the skin.
In your opinion, what is the most important step of a skin care routine?
I’m a huge exfoliation advocate. I think that the more you can exfoliate then the happier your skin is going to be and the more effectively you’re able to take off the dead skin. You’re not only eliminating potential for congestion and blackheads, but you’re also staying ahead of your cellular turnover. The cells that are on the surface of the skin are dead and they’re not going to do anything for the health of the skin. The cells at the bottom layers of your dermis (there are seven layers of the dermis), those are your healthy, fresh, alive cells. They have the most hydration, they have the most nutrients and they have the most oxygen. They’re the youngest, they’re the freshest and they’re the most alive. Essentially, it takes around 30 days for those to travel to the top of the skin, but as we get older, that starts to slow down by a certain percentage every year. If you’re doing something where you’re staying one step ahead of it, your skin is going to be in tip-top shape.
For exfoliants, I only use ones that are more focused on ingredients rather than on texture. All of the products on the market like those gritty apricot scrubs, that stuff is garbage for your skin. They’re comprised of these little tiny pieces of apricot seeds or walnut shells, whatever that specific product is using, and those things actually cause little tiny micro scratches in the surface of your skin, which makes your skin really vulnerable. I use things like an exfoliating pad that has an enzyme extract or a fruit extract on it. Or an alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy because it’s smooth in consistency and I can use it more often, but it’s also more focused on being effective rather than having a certain texture.
What is the most common mistake you see people making in their skin care routines?
When people buy products and don’t know why and what they’re buying it for. I’m a huge educator— I educate people on what their skin needs and why they need it. A lot of people assume that because they get a little shiny throughout the day that they’re oily, so they over-scrub and over-wash and they damage their skin that way. That’s another reason why it’s good to have an esthetician in your corner because she’s going to tell you what’s going on with your skin and what you need so you can make better skin care decisions.
If you could give one piece of advice on achieving healthy skin, what would it be?
Yes, products are great and facials are great, and drinking water and staying out of the sun is too. However, if you’re not in a place where you’re fully happy embracing who you are, working toward your visions and dreams and surrounding yourself with good people who encourage you, that causes a lot of stress and a lot of grief. That negativity will fire into your body. Your skin is the largest organ of manifestation, so it’s going to show up. You’ll never look your best self if you’re not thriving in a positive way.
Thank you SO much to Diane for giving me so many great tips! I hope you all learned as much as I did and feel inspired to treat your skin like your best friend.