Liz Stapleton, LE, CPE / Mary Sierra, Lic. Aesthetician

Frequently Asked Questions About Skin Care

This FAQ is based on common questions asked of skin care providers. The information below is not intended to provide a diagnosis or define a treatment. Please consult your skin care provider before selecting a course of treatment.

skin care

Why should I have a facial?

Most people have facials as a form or relaxation, or as a reward. We really should see having a professional facial treatment as much more than an occasional treat. Professional facials incorporate using products with much stronger active ingredients, which promote a visible benefit immediately. These treatments boost the efficacy of home care products, as well as decongest areas impossible for individuals to do themselves. An Esthetician may use magnification and ultra violet lights to determine skin type and condition, and recommend a course of action to correct any complaints the patient has about their skin. One main purpose in having a professional treatment is the education the patient receives. There are hundreds of skin care products available, and individuals wishing to improve the quality of their skin must see an Esthetician for analysis and recommendations for a proper home care system.

What type of treatment should I have?

This question is best answered after a thorough analysis of the skin has been performed. Once the skin type has been determined, and the desires and expectations of the patient have been expressed, a treatment plan can be designed. As individuals vary, so do the treatments. We customize our facials based on the needs and problem areas the patient is experiencing. There are treatments that nearly everyone can have, unless allergies prevent them. The two treatments we recommend are the Therapeutic Facial, which focuses on each individuals problem areas, and is followed by a glycolic acid peel.

Will a facial treatment make me break out?

Most of our patients experience little to no break outs after having a facial treatment. Spas which are less medically based usually incorporate products or techniques that lead to breaking out. Our facility identifies and eliminates those products and procedures which lead to break outs after treatments. We understand people come in with skin problems, and we don't want them to leave with new or more problems. Any treatment can stimulate the skin to break out, so it is possible, but very rare that it happens in our facility. We strongly encourage the use of quality home care products, which decrease the likelihood that a patient will have an acne episode after a treatment.

I'm in my 40's, why am I'm still breaking out?

Contrary to popular belief, we are not guaranteed a cure to acne once we are out of our teens. Acne can be a life long issue, but can be controlled. The obvious diet, exercise and drinking plenty of water certainly help. Sometimes medications to improve hormonal imbalances can clear up the skin. Polycystic ovary disease can lead to acne, as well as hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and obesity. Medical tests should be conducted to rule out any diseases or conditions which may be causing the acne. If there is no known medical cause for the problem, the patient can choose mild to severe medications to help control it, or may opt to control the issue through professional treatments, and high quality home care products.

What about acne on my chest and back?

These areas can be treated the same way you would treat the face. With the back it is a little more challenging because it is difficult to reach. Typically the chest and back can tolerate stronger products, so a more aggressive protocol is typically recommended. For those experiencing problems with break outs on the chest and back, the first step would be to replace using soap on these areas with a glycolic acid cleanser. Benzoyl peroxide is usually the best course of action to begin with as a "leave on" product. If the problem persists, other options are available.

What does pH mean, and why is it important to the skin?

pH stands for potential of Hydrogen. It is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The pH scale ranges from 0 on the acidic end to 14 on the alkaline end. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. Our bodies have a natural covering called the acid mantle. It's composed of fatty acids from our perspiration and amino acids from our skin tissue. This acid mantle fights infection from bacteria that gather on the skin. The pH factor is a measurement of the percentage of hydrogen ions in the acid. Normal facial skin is a pH of 4.5 to 5.5, meaning it is slightly acid. If something comes into contact with the skin that is either too acidic or too alkaline, the skin's natural protective barrier (the acid mantle) is affected. Barrier recovery is slowed, damage is prolonged, and skin problems will arise, such as skin peeling, rashes, irritation, etc. We recommend using a cleanser with a pH of around 3.0-3.5. When you drop the pH in the skin during the cleansing process, the subsequent products used penetrate the epidermis more readily. Your skin will usually normalize itself within a couple of minutes to a couple of hours after using such products. When you use a product which is alkaline (above a pH of 7) like soap, it interferes with the protective acid mantel. Toners were originally created to bring the pH back to normal after using soap. Once the skin is at its normal pH, additional products will not easily penetrate the skin. The cleansers we carry are all pH balanced for maximum effectiveness.

Do I need to use a toner after cleansing?

Toners are generally used to remove any excess residue left on the skin after cleansing and to restore your skin's natural pH. If you wash your face with soap (which you shouldn't), it is a good idea to use a toner because soap is too alkaline. If you are using a cleanser with a pH in the 3.0-3.5 range, it may be better to skip using a toner. Product penetration will improve if your skin is slightly acidic, and a toner will bring it back to its normal range which may prevent subsequent products from working effectively.

Should I exfoliate?

Exfoliating is an important and necessary part of any skin care regimen. It's important to use a good quality exfoliating products as recommended by your skin care expert. Use a product that has micro-fine beads or granules that are rounded and do not have jagged edges that can tear at the skin. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, which helps treatment products and active ingredients to penetrate your skin more readily. Enzyme masks are another form in which you can exfoliate your skin at home.

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is in the family of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA's). Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane and is a natural exfoliator. Glycolic acid is felt to have the best penetration because of its small molecular size and thus is more often used in skin care treatments.

What is the difference between AHA's and BHA's?

AHA's or Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are extracted from nature, and often referred to as fruit acids. Citrus acids are extracted from citrus, malic acid from apples, glycolic acids from sugar cane, lactic acids are from milk, and tartaric acids are from grapes. AHA's are used in skin care treatments to speed up the removal of dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin.

BHA's , Beta-Hydroxy Acids also known as salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin. BHA's are often used to treat acne as it clears the skin. BHA's also have anti-inflammatory properties that also benefit acne prone skin.