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Choosing a Cleanser for Your Skin Type

The first step in creating a skin care program is choosing a cleanser that will allow the skin to balance its own moisture levels.    A common mistake is to overdry the skin with bar soaps, which are very harsh on skin.  Another common mistake we often see are  clients with slightly congested skin  who  self-diagnose  acne, then treat the  skin with an over-the-counter acne cleanser, which also overdries the skin.  Both of these situations result in a chronic dryness in the skin, which triggers the body to generate more oil, thus creating more acne.    A different situation occurs when clients with sensitive skin choose an over-the-counter product for sensitive skin which may not irritate the skin, but in many cases is not able to effectively cleanse the skin.     It’s critical to choose a cleanser that will not clog and create acne, but one that will be able to cleanse the skirt of perspiration and debris from natural detoxification processes.   The pH of skin lies between 5.5 and 6.2, so even water, with a pH of 7, is much drier than our skin.    While creamy cleansers are not right for oil skin types, and gel-based cleansers are overdrying for almost all skin types, how do we begin to choose the right cleanser?

Congested Skin – Often combination skin types produce a congested skin — not quite acneic, but with slight bumping and occasional breakout.  This skin condition is best treated with a cleanser that is slightly more astringent — we recommend one containing alpha hydroxy acids, primarily lactic acid, which is very hydrating to the skin.

Oily Skin – When the pores are large in the center of the face and around the sides, we define the skin as “oily,” but it does not necessary mean that you are making oil, just that you are capable of it.  Oily skin must be moisturized, just like dry skin, to protect the barrier function (the skin’s ability to retain its moisture).     In both situations, the skin benefits from products containing alpha hydroxy acids, gently formulated so the skin is not overdried.  Sometimes , in cases of extreme oil, a combination of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide may be used — but check with a dermatologist or esthetician, to avoid over-drying the skin.

Mature Skin – mature skin generally benefits most from a creamy cleanser which leaves the skin more hydrated.    Depending on the client’s exfoliation requirements, we may alternate with an alpha-hydroxy-based cleanser for brightening and refining.

Sensitive Skin –  Sensitive skin loves milk-type cleansers with calming ingredients such as rose or chamomile, with a minimum of friction (no particles) and gentle, lactic-based alpha-hydroxy acids for exfoliation.

The Latest in Skincare

The skincare of the future has arrived! Never has there been a better time to begin caring for your skin! Before I became an esthetician, I held very skeptical beliefs about the possibilities of skincare products. I was disappointed at the standard manufacturing practices which used unnecessary, toxic ingredients, and I thought that genetics and lifestyle determined one’s skin completely. However, during the past six years, observing results through 800+ facials per year, I know differently: Skin care manufacturing practices are changing, products are becoming safer, and ingredients matter more than I ever imagined.

First, there was Epicuren. Formulated by biochemist Bob Heiman for almost 30 years, Epicuren utilizes T-cell communication to allow metabolic improvements at the base level of the dermis. This means that over time, when one cell is improved by a product molecule, it shouts out its new, improved state of being to it’s neighbor, who then improves simply from the communication, not from direct contact with the molecule. The body uses this type of T-cell communication as a natural part of its overall immune function, so Epicuren’s products utilize the naturally occurring mechanisms of the body to create healthier, younger (more beautiful!) skin. After approximately 7-10 months of consistent daily use, the enzyme-activated products work their way to the lower levels of the dermis and results radiate younger, smoothing skin. This is a perfect skin care line for dry, mature skin and for those who enjoy the process of applying products.

Then came Clarisonic – not a product, but a tool, and an amazing addition to a skin care protocol.  It is an oscillating, gentle skin brush system for daily cleansing and it accomplishes two very powerful goals: it gets more debris out of the skin than hand washing, and it causes small-molecule serum products to penetrate 61% more deeply into the skin. With regular use, it improves the elasticity of the skin by exercising the walls of the pores, which allows them to narrow, which lends a more refined look to the skin. Clarisonic has become a regular part of our in-salon treatments, and a large percentage of our regular clients use them at home.

The product line that has made me forever change the way I feel about products is the Advanced AHA line from PRIORI Skincare. Joe Lewis, the top formulator of skin care products in North America, studies nature and develops products that mimic nature’s response to rejuvenation and repair. The Advanced AHA line is my first line of defense for clients’ with troubled, congested skin that needs a boost. It’s often where we start when a client has not yet discovered that products and treatments can correct life-long skin care issues. The Advanced AHA line is a unique formulation of alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) which appear in a proprietary blend of several acids, but primarily lactic acid, which is naturally occurring in the dermis. The skin loves lactic acid, and PRIORI utilizes it throughout the entire line (even the cleanser) to gently exfoliate and hydrate the skin. Often clients come to me with extremely dry skin – where all the moisturizer in the world seems to disappear on the skin, but without leaving a feeling a hydration. This is a sign of a broken barrier function. The Advanced AHA products have the ability to quickly return the barrier function to normal, leaving skin soft, hydrated and ready to receive product.

Once the skin is functioning optimally, it’s ready for the Queen Mother of the PRIORI products, the Superceutical (idebenone) line. Using the latest technology to deliver time-released antioxidants to the skin all day long, the powerful anti-oxidant known as idebenone (Edie! Be Known!) protects and repairs the skin. With many skin care lines, a product will to work for a while, and then the body becomes complacent.  However, because idebenone is a synthetic form of CoQ10, it works in a cumulative way to continue improving skin year after year. We have seen clients in the 60+ age range use the Superceutical line for two years or more with continued improvement of lines, redness, firmness and lightening of brown spots. This product is revolutionary for skin.

CoffeeBerry is PRIORI’s organic solution. The active ingredient is the oil from the “cherry” of the coffee bean, which is a powerful, organic and highly stable molecule that protects the skin and particularly works on lightening brown spots in the skin. The product is formulated for all skin types, but we particularly use it when a client is pregnant, lactating, or undergoing any type of immune challenges due to illness. The PRIORI CoffeeBerry line has recently introduced Perfecting Minerals, a line of powdered SPF for the skin, that studies have shown to actually improve and heal acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.

PRIORI’s Cellular Recovery Serum with DNA enzyme complex is right up there with idebenone as one of the most progressive products available. It contains a unique DNA enzyme complex that mimics the body’s own repair enzymes, which helps to repair free radical damage to the skin. It can be used as a supplement to boost any skin care line. It has been proven to diminish the effects of harmful UV radiation, diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation, and help reverse cellular DNA damage.  It will jumpstart results with your current skincare regimen to provide faster and more visible results.

In September 2010, we incorporated NuFACE, the hand-held microcurrent device that works two ways to tighten the skin, into our skincare line-up. A small electrical current is used to stimulate blood flow, much like acupuncture needles, to deliver increased oxygen and minerals to the skin. A short 3-5 minute session stimulates the lymph, which moves excess fluid out of the body, leaving the skin around the jawline tighter, and reduces puffiness. With consistent daily use, it has the ability to tighten the small muscles in the face in 3-5 months, causing a significant lifted appearance. Not only for anti-aging, the NuFace is the perfect tool to help heal acneic skin.  We also recommend a NuFace treatment prior to a make-over, because it further improves the texture of the skin when using foundation or mineral powder.

Welcome to the skin care of the future! I invite you to call for a complimentary skin care consultation, because what we know is that skin, at any age, can continue to improve!

Find Your Ideal Foundation Combo

We recently worked up this chart for our Foundation Workshop as a guide to help you find which cosmetics are ideal for you based on skin type and desired coverage.  Our chart reflects products that we have here at Abundance, and below we have included a loose translation to help you use these guidelines with any cosmetics in your makeup bag.  Of course, there are many other types of foundation available today – creams, gels, mousse, you name it – so there is a lot of room to play.

A word on oily skin… when we refer to oily skin in this chart, we do not mean “I get a little shiny by the end of the day” – we mean seriously oily skin.  Typically we recommend mineral foundation for oily skin types, however you can still use Skin Tints if you use it in place of your standard morning moisturizer for light, non-greasy hydration (follow with powder or mineral foundation as usual…).

A note on concealing the under-eyes… We now offer both TRUE’s creamy under-eye concealer which is a trio (illuminator, salmon & yellow) as well as PRIORI’s CoffeeBerry Perfecting Concealer (in powder form).  Both are great to have in your makeup kit, but if you want to start out with just one, then I would pair creamy concealer with Skin Tints or powder concealer with mineral foundation.  If you wear both, then I would choose creamy concealer for more problematic under-eye circles, or the powder concealer for general brightening around the eyes.  PRIORI’s CoffeeBerry (powder) concealer is great on the eyelids too!  It evens out color nicely so that you look awake and wide-eyed.

Skin Tints = tinted moisturizer, or a very hydrating sheer liquid foundation formula

Mineral Foundation = mineral foundation (!)

Finishing Touch powder = a fine setting powder (non-mineral) that minimizes pores and reduces shine

Mineral Mist = a fine mist used to liquify and set mineral foundation, and hydrates with hyaluronic acid (do not attempt with water which is drying to the skin)

Recipe for Healthy Skin: Curried Pumpkin Soup

An antioxidant rich diet not only boosts your immune system, but also plays vital role in anti-aging.  Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants and beta carotene, and a great choice for those of us in Half Moon Bay where this nutrient dense jewel is abundance abundant – oops.  We asked for your favorite pumpkin recipes, and here’s our winner!

Here’s how to sub fresh pumpkin for canned.

Michella’s Curried Pumpkin Soup

Serves 7 | total time 20 minutes


1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Minced chives

In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder until blended. Gradually add the broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt, pepper and nutmeg; heat through. Garnish with chives if desired.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 cup) equals 157 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 26 mg cholesterol, 686 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein

Before & After PRIORI CoffeeBerry Finishing Touch Powder


Our new favorite combo is Being TRUE Skin Tints tinted moisturizer with PRIORI CoffeeBerry Finishing Touch Powder.  You can see in the photo how Finishing Touch fills lines and pores and reduces shine while leaving a smooth, natural finish.   
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432 kelly avenue | half moon bay, california 94019 | 650.560.9600