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A few weeks ago, we thought we knew a great deal about skincare. If you asked us a question, we would come back with a confident retort. We considered ourselves to be quite ‘in the know’. Then we met Paula Begoun of mega skincare brand Paula’s Choice…
If you don’t know who Paula is or haven’t heard of her brand, then sit up and concentrate, because she’s a bloody skin genius. Paula is a skincare know-it-all, but not in a negative way. What Paula doesn’t know about skincare, probably isn’t worth knowing. Plagued by acne at the early part of her life and not getting results from the products she was using, Paula set out to research all she could on skincare and it’s ingredients. She then wrote a book about everything that she’d learnt, called ‘Don’t go to the cosmetics counter without me’, and then twenty more books followed. Twenty. She’s written twenty books about skincare. (Let’s all take a moment to digest that information.) In 1995, she launched her own brand and her website, beautypedia.com – everything you could possibly want to know about skin and how to care for it.
After we met her, we were desperate to hear more from the oracle, as that is what we now call her. We figured you’d want to know the golden rules of skincare, so we asked her. And this is what she said:
The golden rules
- Treat skin gently. That means no irritating ingredients, including fragrance (whether synthetic or natural), no hot water, no harsh scrubs or cleansing brushes, and avoiding products that contain irritating ingredients like denatured alcohol and menthol.
- Apply sunscreen every day, all year long to protect your skin from UV light exposure. That means daylight, not just sunlight. If you can see daylight and you’re not wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen, your skin is being damaged. Look for sunscreens rated SPF 30 or greater.
- Age is not a skin type. At any age, choose skincare products based on your skin type and concern, not your age. Women with “mature skin” can and do have a range of concerns, and not everyone over age 50 has dry skin.
- Exfoliate but not with a scrub. Everyone’s skin benefits from exfoliation, but scrubs can tear the skin’s surface. Use a gentle, leave-on AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant. When well formulated, leave-on exfoliants help skin do what it used to before it became damaged.
- Skincare must include antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients. These categories are the must-haves for reducing signs of aging, no matter your skin type.
What ingredients should each skin types look for in their products?
All skin types should look for and use leave-on products that contain a mix of antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients. What changes per skin type is the texture of the product: creams or balms for dry skin; creams or lotions for normal skin; lotions or gels for combination skin; gels and liquids for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose the texture based on how oily or dry your skin is—and know that it’s OK to layer products as needed to meet the needs of your skin type and concerns.
How do you know if a product contains antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients?
Look for the following on the packaging of the product:
Antioxidants: green tea, resveratrol, pomegranate, vitamin C, vitamin E, curcumin
Skin-replenishing ingredients: glycerin, ceramides, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, linoleic acid
Skin-restoring ingredients: retinol, niacinamide, adenosine, lecithin, peptides
What types of products should people be using day and night?
Everyone’s skin can benefit from the same core products in their daily and nightly routine – it’s the texture that changes depending on the skin type.
Exfoliant (AHA or BHA)
Daytime moisturizer rated SPF 30 or greater
Eye Cream (if skin around the eyes is drier than skin on the rest of your face)
When it comes to makeup, is there anything that people should be wary of?
Generally, people can have more fun with makeup and not have to be so choosy; however there are some products these days that contains fragrance or irritating ingredients, so I would avoid them. The only category of makeup that really impacts your skin is foundation. Those with dry skin should seek hydrating formulas with a satin or soft matte finish, while those with oily skin will want super-light formulas that contain absorbent ingredients to control excess shine and leave a matte finish. If you have combination skin, the general rule is to use a foundation for the oily areas, but apply a bit of extra moisturizer on the dry spots so your foundation applies and looks great over those areas.