Earlier this morning I had the pleasure of speaking with cosmetologist and About.com‘s skin expert, Jen Adkins on everything from how to prevent wrinkles when you’re in your mid twenties to early thirties, how to treat acne on your face and body, and how people with sensitive skin can prevent irritation!
Cosmetologist and skin care expert, Jen Adkins of About.com
Candace Rose: What can women in their mid twenties to early thirties do to prevent skin damage later on in life?
Jen Adkins: “When you are in probably your mid to late twenties it’s when you start noticing a little bit- some, not everybody, it’s just variable upon person to person- but some people people start noticing fine lines creeping in. The biggest piece of advice that I can give is to use sunscreen because the sun is the cause of 90% of the signs of aging in your skin. And luckily for us sunscreen has really so many options, and a lot of people think that sunscreen is a drag, a problem and an annoyance but in all reality it’s not, and it doesn’t have to be anymore. There are so many options that make it easy for everybody to find one that works for them. So the most important thing is to use sunscreen every single day. Also wear sunglasses all the time because the squinting that you’re doing from the sun is causing a repetitive motion on the corner of your eyes and that will lead to fine lines quicker than if you were to protect your eyes from sun. So that’s the most important thing is wearing sunscreen, and wearing sunglasses. And then of course everyday you need to cleanse moisturize and use a sunscreen.
For sunscreen I recommend to every person because I love it so much, Clarins UV Plus Day Screen. It’s a mineral sunscreen. It goes on almost like you’re putting nothing on, but it has a pretty high SPF level and it’s perfect for the face.
Clarins ‘UV Plus HP’ Mult-Protection Day Screen SPF 40: Nordstrom
For cleanser, a lot of times people in their twenties still might be dealing a little bit with oily skin, but it’s kind of the oil isn’t as bad, so you might want to still use a foaming cleanser. I’m in my mid thirties, but I still have combination skin, and I really, really love the bareMinerals Deep Cleansing Foam. It bubbles up really well, it leaves your skin really clean, but not tight and dry. If you’re using a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling tight and dry, it’s too drying for your skin; you need to find something else. I’ve had really good luck this year luck with this one.
Bare Escentuals® bareMinerals® Deep Cleansing Foam: Nordstrom
And then a moisturizer, Kimberly Sayer’s Ultra Light moisturizer has SPF 35 in it, and it smells like lemons, and it is amazing. It’s my favorite moisturizer, so that would be a good one if you are kind of in the combination skin type as well.
Kimberly Sayer of London: Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer- SPF 30: Amazon.com
Candace Rose: My tinted moisturizer has sunscreen in it. Is that enough or do I need to apply additional sunscreen?
Jen Adkins: “It is enough for your initial first dose, depending on what the SPF level is. It is a great first dose. The problem with sunscreen, I believe that people are just not wearing enough, and not reapplying. When you put on your moisturizer in the morning – or your makeup – some foundations have SPF in it as well, it’s not going to last you more than two hours because sunscreen really needs to be applied every hour and a half to two hours. So it’s a good dose for you to start your day, but it’s not going to last you all day long.”
Candace Rose: How about eye cream?
Jen Adkins: “Eye cream is optional. It’s not (in my opinion) it’s not mandatory. It depends on what you’re looking for. If you have puffy eyes you can use one of those rollerball serums. They’re wonderful because they massage the puffiness out of there. Usually the puffiness will go away by midday regardless. If you have dark circles under your eyes, a really good ingredient to look for is vitamin K, which kind of helps flush out the dark circles- but a concealer is really your best friend with dark circles. I think personally, I don’t believe that everybody has to have an eye cream. I think that if you’re using a good moisturizer, in your twenties you really don’t need to invest in an eye cream, unless you’re having problem areas.”
Candace Rose: One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you about sensitive skin is because tons of people are affected by it, and there really isn’t much information about it online. It’s hard because those who suffer with it can’t use the same products as everyone else.
Jen Adkins: “I think when it comes to sensitive skin- and people might not be aware of it all- but there’s no FDA regulations on the labels that say may be hypoallergenic, or dermatologist tested, or for sensitive skin, that is just something that any products can put on their label- it’s all just the product manufacturers. If they want to put it on there, they can put it on there. The FDA is not regulating that, so I think what everybody needs to do is just not even pay attention to that and look for products. First off something very easy that you can do: perfume-free, fragrance-free, color-free. Try to find a product line without them. But really you just need to be your own detective and when you are looking at products that you’ve tried that are irritating your skin, you need to take note of the ingredient list in there. You can go online, there’s a website called Beautypedia, and look up these ingredients and see what they actually are, and start taking note of what irritates your skin, and what doesn’t irritate your skin.
Beautypedia Reviews Image courtesy of Beautypedia.com
The ones that say hypoallergenic- people aren’t allergic to the same things. There are so many different ingredients that cause sensitivities to so many different people. Unfortunately for those that have sensitive skin, they really need to do some investigating on what’s causing their sensitivities.”
Candace Rose: What can people with sensitive skin do to prevent fine lines and wrinkles? Are retinols too harsh or can they use them?
Jen Adkins: “They can be. They can be too harsh, and they can use them. The retinols that are over the counter are not nearly as strong as the retinoids that you would get from the dermatologist. There are two ingredients to look for- not necessarily for sensitive skin- but beginning anti-aging, when you’re starting to notice that you want to put a little effort into that- one is the retinols. You can find those right at the drugstore, like Neutrogena Healthy Skin has it; and ROC, that also gets really good reviews. That penetrates with the skins layers deep down. So it kind of helps build that elastin and collagen.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream: Amazon.com
The other one is peptides, because I had a great interview with a dermatologist in New York City who really kind of explained what peptides do. When you use a product with peptides, your body is kind of fooled into thinking that those peptides are your skins broken collagen in pieces, so then the body makes more because the body is healing itself. Again with the sensitive skin, you really need to look for samples, if you can get samples. Everybody is just so different in what their sensitivities are, but in the world of anti-aging in the initial steps, those are two ingredients that you really want to look for.”
Candace Rose: What’s typically the cause of adult acne? Are hormones and/or food the culprits?
Jen Adkins: “Well, hormones can be, food most likely not. Actually in the hair follicle there are little glands called sebaceous glands, and I know this really sounds like I’m digging in deep, but it’s actually very interesting. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, and that’s the natural oils that moisturize your skin and your hair. Everybody has them, it’s just your skin’s natural moisturizer. But those with acne typically have sebaceous glands that are producing more oil than what’s necessary. So when your skin cells shed those skin cells that they are always shedding, and mix with the extra sebum that’s when acne can form.”
Candace Rose: How can we prevent acne?
Jen Adkins: “To prevent it, there are daily things that you can do. Some good things for guys especially is to take the hat off, because when you have a hat sitting on your forehead all the time, it’s kind of blocking those oils and that’s going to be a bigger cause of acne for men, especially.
Women should wash their makeup brushes a lot more than what we do right now. This is one of those jobs that gets pushed aside. But wash your makeup brushes because you’re putting your skin’s oils right on your makeup brushes every time you use them. And sponges aren’t meant to be used forever, so get rid of those.
Also, make sure you change out of your clothes after you exercise right away. And just have healthy skin habits. A lot of times when you’re going up into your thirties, your skin isn’t really as oily, so an acne line might not be the best for your skin. It might be too drying, so using just a spot treatment instead of a whole acne line would be something that I would recommend.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips on finding a good cleanser for your makeup brushes?
Jen Adkins: “You don’t need to buy a special one. I actually just use a body wash on mine, and have never had a problem with them at all. You might find manufacturers thing with that is it’s not what you should be using, and if you want to go and buy a brush cleaner that’s fine. Sometimes I just use a little bit of my shampoo, and it cleans them just fine. It works just fine for me. So like I said, I am a budget girl and if I can use multitask products, I’m not going to spend money on something else.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips when it comes to preventing and treating body acne?
Jen Adkins: “It’s harder obviously if you have a spot treatment when it comes to your back, but they make sprays- salicylic acid body acne sprays. I know Rodan & Fields has one (I actually have it myself) that when you’re done with your shower, you spray it on and it just treats your body acne. But again, really most important is to change out of your play clothes when you’re exercising, because that’s very important; shower when you are done exercising. And use a cleanser that is not super hydrating, some of the body washes are really hydrating, and it could be helping increase the acne on your skin. So look for a body wash that is meant for acne prone skin, and then the salicylic acid spray is recommended.”
Neutrogena Body Clear Body Spray: Amazon.com
Candace Rose: So you shouldn’t use body moisturizers or anything like that?
Jen Adkins: “You should still use a body moisturizer. If body acne is a huge problem, then you should look for one maybe that is meant for your face and use it on the areas where you’re breaking out. But you definitely do what to continue to use a body moisturizer so your skin doesn’t get dry. Exfoliate your body, that’s another thing that will help because it helps get rid of the dead skin cells, so that will help your skin turn the skin cells over to get rid of the acne faster.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional information you’d like to share?
Jen Adkins: “For acne, one thing that I didn’t say is the two most popular medicines that are in acne products are benzyl peroxide and salicylic acid. And in case people weren’t aware of this- if you have blackheads, and blackheads are a problem of yours- the salicylic acid is a good choice for you. Neutrogena, and lots and lots of product lines have salicylic acid.
But then if you have the acne that’s more like the whiteheads kind of- benzyl peroxide is a good option for you because that actually kills the bacteria that is forming the acne, that kills that on your skin. So that will help heal your skin faster; whereas the salicylic acid helps exfoliate, and can really get down in the skin cells deeper than benzyl peroxide can.”
Candace Rose: What if you have acne that doesn’t have a head on it. What should you put on top of that?
Jen Adkins: “That I would go more with the salicylic acid product. Sometimes really with cystic acne, many times over the counter products aren’t really going to be enough, and that’s when I would recommend actually visiting a dermatologist because they really have their means that are more effective. Even antibiotics they can give. My friend gets the cystic- the big cystic acne and when she goes in they give her a little injection, and it takes it down so fast. Sometimes if you get those big cysts you just want to go to the dermatologist and get a treatment plan.”