Using the right skincare products for your skin type

Let’s face it, while we all want picture perfect model skin, everyone has a different skin type.  Do you know your skin type? You may be dry, oily or a combination of the two. You may also have sensitive skin.  Understanding your skin type is particularly important when choosing skin care products.

Once you have determined your skin type, you can then choose a cleanser, toner, and moisture product best for you.  If you are unsure of your skin type, visit your aesthetician for a consultation. After choosing the basics, you can add scrubs (exfoliants), masks, serums, and eye creams, that also target issues or corrective measures that you want to take.  Whether it’s anti-aging, fine lines and wrinkles, skin tone or texture, sun damage, or even troublesome breakouts or acne, you can combine different products to help you achieve your skin care goals.

To make sure you are using products designed for your skin type, be sure you understand the ingredients in the products you are choosing.  Check with your aesthetician or dermatologist to see which ingredients are best suited for your wants and needs. Be sure to check the packaging and read labels to ensure the products contain the correct ingredients.  

When choosing a cleanser, toner and moisturizer for your skin

If you have dry or dehydrated skin you want to go with a cleanser that is hydrating for your skin.  This could be a cream cleanser that can be massaged onto the skin and removed with a damp towel or cleansing cloth.  Or a foaming, hydrating gel cleanser that is massaged onto the skin and simply rinsed with water. Look for ingredients like orange peel oil, safflower oil, or lactic acid.  When it comes to toner choose something with similar ingredients that will be conditioning for the skin. Choose moisturizers with shea butter, squalane, or jojoba oil to help restore hydration and prevent further dryness.

For oily or acne prone skin you want to choose something with a beta hydroxy acid (also known as salicylic acid) this helps eliminate oils and debri from the skin in order to help with the overproduction of oil and other pore clogging agents that cause blackhead, whiteheads and breakouts.  Niacinamide and azelaic acid are other acne fighting ingredients to look for. For toners, you want to go with something that has similar ingredients especially salicylic acid. This will serve as both an anti-inflammatory and an anti-bacterial step to your skincare regimen. Sometimes oily skin doesn’t always need moisturizer, but when choosing one, you want to look for something that is oil free.  Look for something that is a lotion or a hydrating gel as opposed to a creme which could be pore clogging and heavy on your skin.

If you have combination skin you want to use something that is purifying that won’t strip your skin.  Choose something with citric acid or a lower concentration of salicylic acid. Toners for combination skin can be light, choose something with witch hazel, or citric acid.  Reach for something light when it comes to moisturizer.  Hyaluronic acid is a great choice for combination skin.  This helps hold moisture and also aids in combating fine lines and wrinkles.

When adding additional products to your skin care regimen like serums, it’s important to know why you are buying them.  Here are some ingredients that you may look for to help with certain conditions:

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) – (glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, and mandelic acids) aid in exfoliating the skin and help with fine lines, irregular pigmentation, age spots and enlarged pores
  • Beta-hydroxy acid – also called salicylic acid; works to exfoliate skin, helps improve acne and texture and color of skin
  • Hydroquinone – used to lighten age spots or dark spots
  • Kojic acid – also used to lighten age spots or dark spots
  • Retinol – improves fine lines, wrinkles, texture, tone and color
  • Hyaluronic acid – used to treat wrinkles and sun-damaged skin

When looking for skin care products, be aware of marketing claims. Manufacturers often make broad claims or have clever and aesthetically pleasing packaging. Read the label to make sure the ingredients are what you need for your skin.  Also know that while over the counter products that you find in grocery stores and drug stores will not be as potent or as effective as those that you will find in a med spa, spa, or doctor’s office. The higher concentration of ingredients, the greater the efficacy of the product.  Keep in mind that this will also give better and faster results.

Schedule a consultation at Let’s Face It! Aesthtics to determine your skin type and discuss what products would best suit you.

Ugh! Blackheads...

If you’ve ever looked into a magnifying mirror you’ve likely obsessed over a blackhead or two.
Acne affects nearly 50 million Americans and is the most common skin disorder in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.  I get a lot of questions about blackheads and how to “get rid of them” or how to “prevent them” so I thought I would write about some concerns that I get in hopes of answering some questions and to help you better understand those pesky little annoyances!

Read more

What is Collagen??

What Is Collagen??

Collagen is a fiber in the connective tissue throughout your body, most noticeably in the face. As we age, our bodies naturally stop producing collagen and unfortunately our existing collagen begins to break down. This leads to facial sagging and wrinkles.

By the age of 25 we start to lose 1% of our collagen per year, by our mid 30’s, its 2% per year, and in our 40’s and 50’s it’s up to 4% per year!

Let’s Face It!  We ALL want supple, youthful, glowing skin, right?  So how do we tend to this breakdown of collagen and keep our skin looking young and healthy for as long as we can?  First and foremost, we must pay strict attention to our sun exposure! UV rays are responsible for a huge percentage of collagen and elastin breakdown.  A daily sunscreen is a must, even on overcast days. Remember that the sun is the #1 cause of actinic aging, so don’t allow it to, wear an SPF of 30 or more!

Another sure fire way to help with producing new collagen is to challenge the skin and through exfoliation.  This can be done through getting regular exfoliation treatments (i.e. chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning) with your esthetician as well as doing a manual weekly exfoliation as part of your home care regimen.  By removing the layers of dead surface cells and build up from the skin (causing minor injury to the skin), it is “shocked” into producing new cells which also helps stimulate new collagen production!  We can equate exfoliation of our skin to a workout at the gym…when we work out our muscles they regenerate and come back stronger and/or more tone.  Exfoliation helps keep your skin “in shape” and healthy as well as producing more collagen.

While a monthly or bi-weekly visit to your esthetician is a great way to help keep your skin healthy, a good home care regimen is also important to maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
Vitamin C is crucial to holding on to collagen.  Humans are actually 1 of 2 mammals on the planet that do not produce their own vitamin C.  So while taking a vit c supplement can help, it is also very important to apply a topical serum in order to prevent some of the breakdown of collagen and elastin and to promote a boost in production of both as well.  

Retinol is another collagen booster.  It has been proven to help fight the breakdown of collagen and it also helps with the formation of new collagen.  Win win! There are also many other benefits from using retinol. It not only firms and tightens the skin, but also helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles, unclog and tighten pores, and helps lighten dark spots.  This is simply a must in daily home care.

Peptides in skincare products such as moisturizers, cremes and serums help promote collagen production by sending the skin messages that it has lost collagen and needs to generate more!  This helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles and can also aid in wound repair to improve conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. There also neuropeptides, which are important because they have the ability to penetrate your skin more deeply to do the most good.  The peptide Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide) has been marketed as a safer, less expensive, and non-invasive alternative to Botox. This anti-aging peptide works by causing facial muscles to relax, thereby minimizing wrinkles.

Many people ask if taking a collagen supplement or drinking a powder mixture can help produce collagen within the skin.  It has been said that “it doesn’t make sense that you would ingest something which would be digested and broken down, then circulate throughout the body and make it to your skin.  Most collagen supplements contain animal by-products such as chicken feet and cow hide and are not regulated by the FDA.” 1. Dr. Eva Hurst, an associate professor of dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis, 2. NBC News Health Editor Madelyn Fernstrom.


So in closing, Let’s slow the breakdown of collagen and elastin and boost their production!
Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN! We have to stop the sun from causing damage to our collagen and our cell’s DNA.
Exfoliation, bi-weekly chemical peels (series, 3 month process), monthly chemical peels or microdermabrasion, and weekly at home manual exfoliation.
Good home care, cleansing, serums, moisture (if needed) eye cream, Vitamin C and Retinol are a must!
And don’t forget to eat a protein and antioxidant rich diet to help from within.


Heather Tolsma

Owner/Licensed Aesthetician

Let’s Face It! Aesthetics, LLC


Did you know that extractions can actually help shrink your pores?

We all know that extractions aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite part of a facial, but the benefits will keep you from turning them down.  While they may be slightly painful, this procedure is well worth it for your skin’s health.  Here are some reasons to make you reconsider not skipping your monthly facial.

First extractions are necessary to remove blackheads from the skin.
No one wants those pesky small black dots to appear on their skin.  They are formed when pores are clogged with dead surface cells, sebum (oil), and debri.  The dark color appears when this clogging buildup is exposed to air (oxygen). Blackheads are hard to remove and I do not recommend trying this at home due to potential scarring.  However they can be easily removed by your aesthetician.

Second Everyone wants clean skin, right?  Extractions help clear the pores by dislodging oil and dirt.  This is everyday “stuff” that builds up in the pores, i.e. make up, oil, dirt, etc.  Sometimes it takes a little more than our cleanser, toner, and serum to eliminate all traces.  That’s where our monthly facials with extractions come in.  It’s also important to keep those pores clean in order to get the most benefit from the products in your skin care regimen.

Third Who likes unwanted or unexpected breakouts?  They always seem to pop up at the most inopportune time too.  Keeping the pores cleaned on a regular basis, helps prevent these unwanted disasters.  Although tempting, PLEASE DO NOT pick at home!  Wait until your next facial or make an appointment for professional extractions. When you pick, you risk scarring or imploding the bacteria to spread deeper underneath the surface causing an even bigger breakout.   Instead, trust in your aesthetician to safely remove your whiteheads, pustules, and pimples. If not done properly, extractions can have damaging and sometimes permanent effects.

Finally and probably one of the most important benefits you are interested in…SMALLER PORES!
Having your pores full of environmental aggressors, makeup, and more can cause long term effects to your pore size.  If you do not regularly have extractions, the pores, over time, will become larger and larger because they continually fill up.  This is why it’s important to have professional extractions performed on a bi-weekly to monthly basis to ensure that your pores stay clean and empty.  This will actually help them shrink back down and heal, leaving the appearance of smaller pores.  The majority of people do not like having large pores so do something about it by getting extractions!

Your Pores Should Stay Clear for a Few Weeks.
Contrary to our fears, applying makeup the next day won’t tarnish your esthetician’s handiwork. When done properly, your extracted pores should remain clear for a few weeks, but you’ll need to do some maintenance on your end as well.  Cleansing twice a day, and using a pore clearing toner containing an AHA or a BHA will help tremendously.  Try to stay away from super-thick moisturizers (unless recommended by your esthetician) or heavy pore clogging makeup that could cause extra sebum buildup.  Exfoliate weekly, and incorporate a clarifying serum, particularly one with salicylic acid, and a retinol into your product lineup.  With the help of your esthetician and your commitment to a personalized at home skin care regimen, you can improve the appearance and health of your skin.

How do I exfoliate? Let me count the ways…

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells and build up (gross) from the surface of the epidermis.  Regular exfoliation is important to keeping our skin looking and feeling it’s best.

Our skin is continually producing new cells that rise to the surface and die off.  These cells gradually shed making way for the newer cells.  As we age the cell turnover process tends to slow down.  Older cells on the surface take longer to slough off.  This leads to a dry or rough appearance and texture of the skin. The pile up of old skin and debris also clogs the pores, which can cause acne, other blemishes, and a dull skin tone.

Skin exfoliating is beneficial as it removes the old cells and debris, revealing younger, fresher looking skin below.  Regular exfoliation also helps topical skincare products like anti-aging and corrective serums to better penetrate the skin and be more effective.

Important things to consider when choosing an exfoliation routine

  • Over-exfoliating is possible, especially for those with aging or sensitive skin.
    Overdoing it can result in dry and irritated skin.
  • Space out your exfoliation. Proper at home exfoliation should be done 1-3 times per week.  Doing too many exfoliation treatments without the proper amount of healing time between them can thin the skin or cause unwanted irritation.
  • Be aware that exfoliation can leave the skin vulnerable to damage from the sun. Be especially cautious concerning sun exposure right after undergoing a chemical or mechanical treatment.  Wear a sunscreen everyday!

Types of exfoliation

At Home Facial Scrubs with microbeads or crystals that can be used manually by applying to damp skin and gently rubbing in a circular motion.  There are also other methods such as

physically scrubbing the skin with an abrasive exfoliator such as abrasive facial cloths, sponges, brushes or my personal favorite the Clarasonic.  These methods are used between visits to your esthetician to maintain optimal skin health.

Chemical Exfoliation goes deeper into the skin exfoliating from within as well as on the surface.  The use of acids allow the glue like substance that hold cells together to loosen so the dead and old skin cells can slough away from the face.

Chemical exfoliating may include one of the following:

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) such as glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids.

Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) refers specifically to Salicylic Acid.

Mechanical Exfoliation is the process of removing old cells through an abrasive – i.e., the outer layer of the skin is scrubbed or scraped off.  Examples of mechanical include microdermabrasion and dermaplaning.

  • Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment using a diamond tipped wand that glides over the skin removing the top most layers of dead surface cells and buildup from the face. This helps promote healthy cell renewal which leaves the skin with a smoother texture and more radiant tone.
  • Dermaplaning, also a non-invasive treatment using a surgical blade that is moved along the skin at an angle much like shaving. This also removes the top layers of surface cells and buildup from the skin along with the vellus hair (aka peach fuzz) from the face.  Dermaplaning is ideal for those with sensitive skin, unwanted facial hair and even rosacea.

Exfoliation also helps with

  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduction in the appearance of deep acne scars
  • Smoother, more even complexion
  • Enhanced penetration of skin care products following treatment

With so many treatment options to choose from, it is important to know which is right for your skin type.  That’s why it is important for you to meet with your esthetician to come up with the perfect customized plan that best fits your needs.

In conclusion, with proper exfoliation you can be on your way to having the healthy, radiant and glowing skin you crave!